Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 4, 2013

20 netted on drug charges

RICHLANDS, Va. — Law enforcement agencies from across Tazewell County announced Monday the indictment of 20 individuals on drug-related charges as the search continues for two other suspects.

Tazewell County Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Lee announced during a press conference at the Richlands Police Department 20 individuals had been indicted as the result of a yearlong investigation conducted by members of the Tazewell County Narcotics Task Force.

Lee said the task force continues to search for two subjects: Matthew Shane Crigger, 27, of Oakview Road, Jewell Ridge, Va., and David Junior Blankenship, 36, of Kents Ridge Road, Richlands. Lee said anyone with information on either subject may leave a tip by calling 276-988-5966.

Lee said the recent roundup included several arrests for synthetic marijuana and even prompted the closure of two county businesses where the store owner and clerk had been selling the illegal substance. A branch of the tobacco shop chain Slacker’s in Richlands and another branch in Tazewell, Va., were both shut down after the store owner and clerks were found to be selling synthetic marijuana.

Lee said synthetic drugs are becoming more of an issue in Tazewell County.

“There is no medical use for synthetic marijuana, bath salts or other synthetic drugs,” Lee said. “The fact of the matter is synthetic marijuana is a so-called research dump.”

Lee said that pharmaceutical companies create designer drugs like synthetic marijuana but do not test or conduct clinical trials on the drugs. However, the research including the formula for the drugs are published in medical and pharmaceutical journals, which people then use to illegally manufacture and sell the drug. Lee said many of these drugs are manufactured and shipped from overseas and countries such as China, often advertised over the Internet as “plant food” or “potpourri” with warnings they are “not for human consumption.”

“Most frightening is no one knows what these synthetic drugs do to the human body,” Lee said. “With other narcotics, there are well-done studies to determine the side effects. Anyone who takes these synthetic drugs is using themselves as a guinea pig.”

Though synthetic drug use has increased, Lee said prescription narcotics remain the county’s biggest problem.

“The number one drug on the streets in Southwest Virginia is oxycodone, typically in the form of roxicodone,” he said. “Oxycontin has fallen off the map due to a reconfiguration. Opana has dropped off the map as it has also been reformulated to be tamper proof. Other drugs we see frequently include methadone and morphine.”

Lee said indictments announced during the press conference were the result of collaborative investigations by the following agencies: the Tazewell County Narcotics Task Force, Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, Richlands Police Depart-ment, Tazewell Police Depart-ment, Bluefield, Va., Police Depart-ment, Virginia State Police and Cedar Bluff Police Department.

The following indictments were handed down:

• Danny Fonsley Brown, 60, of Cedar Bluff: prescription fraud (three counts)

• Brian Keith Buckland, 40, of North Tazewell: conspiracy, possession with the intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids (four counts), possession of a schedule I or II drug, possession of a schedule III drug, possession of a schedule IV drug

• Kenneth Ray Cook, 39, of Pocahontas: sell or distribution of a schedule III drug, distribution of a schedule I or II controlled substance (two counts)

• Bertha Ann Ealy, 54, of Pocahontas: sell or distribution of a schedule III drug (three counts)

• Paul Dallas Farrington, 33, of Pocahontas: sell or distribution of a schedule III drug.

• Chesley Kate Green, 27, of Pocahontas: distribution of a schedule I or II controlled substance (two counts)

• John Patton Griffith, 40, of North Tazewell: possession with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids (five counts), conspiracy

• April Tara Hale, 26, of Richlands: grand larceny (two counts)

• James Robert Lee Hamm, 27, of Pocahontas: distribution of a schedule I or II controlled substance (two counts); sale, distribution or possession with intent to distribute a schedule I drug; sale, distribution of an imitation controlled substance

• Christopher Michael Kelly, 36, of Richlands: distribution or possession with intent to distribute a schedule II or schedule II drug, second or subsequent offense

• Casey Sage Lugo, 22, of North Tazewell: possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute larger than half an ounce but greater than five pounds (three counts)

• Freddie Paul Milam, 58, of Maybeury: sale or distribution of a schedule III drug (two counts)

• Robin Darnell Mott, 47, of Tazewell, Va.: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana between half an ounce and five pounds, attempt to possess marijuana with intent to sell or distribute between half an ounce and five pounds, petit larceny

• James Alden Nunley, 31, of Cedar Bluff, Va.: distribution of a schedule I or II controlled substance (three counts)

• Rose Ann Quesinberry, 41, of Bluefield: distribution of a schedule I or II controlled substance (three counts)

• Carla Kaye Robinson, 44, of Bluefield, Va.: prescription fraud

• Jennifer Jo Phillips Shorter, 39, of Cedar Bluff, Va.: possession with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids

• Arnold Leon Sipp, 56, of Pocahontas, Va.: prescription fraud, distribution of a schedule I or II controlled substance (two counts)

• Robin Lynn Stanley, 27, of Abingdon, Va.: conspiracy to sell or distribute a schedule I or II controlled substance; distribution of a schedule I or II controlled substance; possession of two or more substances to manufacture methamphetamine

• Kelvin Davon Tucker, 20, Tazewell, Va.: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana between half an ounce and five pounds; attempt to possess marijuana with intent to sell or distribute between half an ounce and five pounds; petit larceny.

A photo bf Danny Fonsley Brown was not available.

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