by BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A combined strike force made up of Mercer County sheriff’s deputies and members of the Southern Regional Drug & Violent Crime Task Force executed a search warrant at a Mercer County residence Wednesday evening and seized 209 marijuana plants with a street value of $522,500, and several thousand dollars in cash and firearms.
Charles W. Anderson II, 61, of Bluefield was arraigned Thursday morning on charges of illegal cultivation and distribution of marijuana, according to Mercer County Sheriff D.B. “Don” Meadows. Anderson appeared before Magistrate Rick Fowler who set bond at $2,500. Anderson was released on bond on Thursday.
“This is probably the largest in-grown marijuana plants bust we’ve ever had in Mercer County,” Meadows said. “The marijuana plants were being grown inside the residence and in the garage. It was quite an operation with plants of different sizes in separate rooms.”
During the search, Meadows said he came upon an article from a 1973 edition of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph written by Dee Wilson about (then) Trooper Frank Thomas’ arrest of Anderson on marijuana charges.
“He had held on to that article all of these years,” Meadows said.
Meadows said that the search warrant came as a result of an on-going investigation into Anderson’s marijuana cultivation and distribution activities.
“It was a good lick,” Meadows said. “It was a year-round operation that included a sophisticated watering system and artificial lighting.” Meadows said the watering system involved ropes that led from a watering tank to holes drilled in the base of flower pots.
The Southern Regional Drug & Violent Crime Task Force includes officers from the West Virginia State Police, deputies from the Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming county sheriff’s departments and the police departments of Bluefield and Princeton.