Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 12, 2012

$1.3 million in pot seized


State police in McDowell County have recovered $1.3 million worth of marijuana, including pot plants from two men who attempted to evade a police helicopter by driving their vehicle into a railroad tunnel in the Twin Branch community.

The officers had to execute a traffic stop by helicopter in order to catch the men, according to Trooper C.M. Wade, who is coordinating the regional marijuana eradication campaign.

Two people in the Davy area of McDowell County, who spotted an overhead helicopter, actually pulled marijuana plants out of the ground, placed them in a vehicle, and attempted to flee the area Tuesday. The two drove the vehicle into a railroad tunnel in the Twin Branch area in hopes of evading the helicopter. But the vehicle was stopped as it exited the tunnel and headed toward Roderfield.

“The chopper landed in the road, and actually performed a traffic stop,” Wade said. “It was quite an exciting day.”

Wade said David Odom, 39, and Derek Miller, 20, both of Davy, were both arrested and charged with the cultivation of marijuana.

Wade said troopers spent the day Tuesday searching for marijuana by both ground and air. In all, marijuana plants with a street value totaling $1,317,000 was recovered in McDowell County. Another $286,000 worth of marijuana was found in Mercer County.

The pot plants were located in various communities, including Sandy Huff, Hensley, Roderfield, Davy and Bug Hurley, near Jolo.

“I just want to give props to the DNR, and the county has really helped us out, the sheriff’s department has really helped us out,” Wade said. “The state police down here all work together, and the DNR and the community has helped us out quite a bit. And I really appreciate the people calling in and helping us and giving us information. What it takes is good people to help out.”

Wade said concerned citizens who have any information regarding drug activity in their neighborhoods, including the cultivation of marijuana, are urged to contact the West Virginia State Police Welch Detachment at 304-436-2101 or the West Virginia State Police Princeton Detachment at 304-425-2102.

Wade said the cultivation of marijuana remains a significant problem in McDowell County.

“This is my first year being the marijuana coordinator for the county,” Wade said. “West Virginia is nationally recognized for the cultivation of marijuana, and McDowell County is renowned in West Virginia. There is obviously a problem down here.”

Wade said the marijuana eradication campaign continues.

— Contact Charles Owens at

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