The Upshur County Sheriff's Department, in conjunction with the West Virginia State Police and the Buckhannon Police Department, arrested five individuals Friday morning on drug-related charges and promised further arrests as their investigation continues.
Arrest warrants were also issued for persons living outside of West Virginia and believed to be involved in drug-related incidents in Upshur County, said Sheriff David Coffman.
"All three agencies working together and exchanging (information) and working as one unit, it helped us to pick these individuals up," Coffman said. "We have been investigating these individuals since I came into office, and these investigations are very time-consuming. We all know that Upshur County has a very serious drug problem."
Chief Deputy Mike Kelley of the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department escorts Scott Sheets into the courthouse Friday morning. Sheets was charged with several drug-related felonies, and his bond was set at $175,000.
Among those arrested and arraigned in Upshur County Magistrate Court were Scott Sheets, 37, of 512 Broad Run Church Road, Jane Lew, on felony charges of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug lab, conspiracy and possession of substances used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. His bond was set at $175,000.
According to the complaint filed in Magistrate Court, Sheets was allegedly in possession of pseudoephedrine tablets, a lithium battery and dirty coffee filters having a residue of methamphetamine on them. The complaint stated that on May 19, Sheets was at a residence on Randolph Street allegedly operating a clandestine drug lab when a fire occurred. A later search of the residence revealed a drug lab, according to the complaint. Another arrest from the same event was Shauna L. Winnings, 30, of 1729 Glady Creek Road, Crawford. Her bond was set at $150,000.
Timothy Baxa, 23, of 75 South Florida St., Buckhannon, was charged with delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. According to the complaint filed in Magistrate Court, Baxa is alleged to have sold what police believed to be heroin to a confidential informant in the parking lot of the Upshur County Board of Education office on Smithfield Street in Buckhannon. The building is within 1,000 feet of Buckhannon Academy Elementary School. His bond was set at $85,000.
Also arrested Friday were Joanie Hoge, 33, and Donald Hoge, 44, both of 51 Upper Drive, Buckhannon, on misdemeanor charges of being in possession of a controlled substance.
Coffman said he hoped Friday's arrests will put a dent in the drug culture in the county, but said his department will need the cooperation of the community to do so.
"I ask the citizens of Upshur County to come forward and lend us a hand," Coffman said. "They know what's going on around them. I would ask them to speak to me or relay the information to me. We will identify, investigate and arrest those people involved in the unlawful use and selling of drugs."