Federal, State Collaboration Leads to Drug Charges Against 87
BRIDGEPORT, WV—Federal, state, and local law enforcement leaders announced charges today against 87 people alleged to be involved in drug trafficking in North Central West Virginia, with over half of the cases involving heroin.
United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Rachel Romano, and Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker announced the charges today, along with details of an early morning arrest operation that led to the arrest of many of the suspects. Ten teams of officers and agents spread out across the region to execute the warrants for charges including the possession and distribution of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine.
Forty of the 87 are facing federal charges, while forty-seven face state charges. A total of 78 people were arrested today. Nine individuals were already incarcerated on separate charges prior to today’s arrest operation.
“Today’s arrests are the result of a coordinated effort of law enforcement partners, working together to help make Harrison County and the surrounding region safer for everyone,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “We will continue to work side-by-side side to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who are involved in drug trafficking, and particularly those who sell heroin.”
Ihlenfeld commended all of the agents and officers who participated in this morning’s round up and thanked them for their commitment to protecting the community.
Agencies involved in today’s arrest operation included the Greater Harrison County Drug Task Force, the Mon-Metro Drug Task Force, the Three Rivers Drug Task Force, the Stonewood Police Department, the West Virginia State Police, the United States Marshals Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-CI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Federal, state collaboration leads to 87 drug charges
“The continued efforts of the Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, as well as the many other law enforcement departments in this county, to combat the drug problem we currently face is no small endeavor. Arrests of this magnitude take time, dedication, and sacrifice and all involved should be commended for their efforts. Through the continued collaboration of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Task Force and the many law enforcement departments in this county each arrest and prosecution will chip away at this epidemic and will show a no tolerance policy towards these crimes,” said Harrison County Prosecutor Romano.
“Drug enforcement efforts are a 24/7, 365 day responsibility of law enforcement. Investigations are lengthy and very involved. To be successful investigations are conducted covertly sometime leaving the community with concerns about illegal drug trafficking in our area. The arrests being made today confirm our commitment to the residents of North Central West Virginia,” said Chief Walker, who also serves as chairman of the Task Force board. “The Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force is committed to providing a better quality of life without interference from drug dealers.”
The charges announced today are merely accusations, and each defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.