Drugs and Guns


More than two dozen indicted on federal firearms, drug charges

BUCKHANNON — An investigation into stolen firearms from a cabin in Upshur County 11 months ago led to the indictment of 29 people by a federal grand jury.

Federal authorities assisted by local law enforcement agencies in several counties arrested many people in a round-up on Wednesday.

Randolph Bernard, criminal chief and assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, held a press conference Wednesday at the Buckhannon Public Safety Complex’s Community and Training Room.

“It’s the culmination of what we have seen all too often, where we have the mixture of firearms and drugs,” Bernard said. “In this case, the investigation began with a large-scale theft of firearms from a location in Upshur County, and those firearms were used as barter as well as used in furtherance of crystal methamphetamine possession and the distribution of crystal methamphetamine.”

Bernard thanked all the law enforcement agencies who worked thousands of hours on the cases.

“It once again reflects that law enforcement will take an aggressive approach particularly with the respect to drugs like crystal methamphetamine,” he said.

Sheriff David Coffman said, “This is a great day for Upshur County. I’m proud of my staff in my office, but I’m just as proud as these gentleman behind me for all their support and hard work. We’ve worked on this for almost a year now, and there was no way the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office had the resources to take this case where it needed to go.

“The ATF came on board and worked hard with deputies. I’m totally satisfied and very proud of that.”

DeWayne Haddix, resident agent in charge of ATF Clarksburg field office, said,“This investigation was initiated after the theft of a significant number of firearms. Over 100 of those stolen firearms have been recovered in this case, however over 20 of the stolen firearms still remain unaccounted for,” he said. “If you have purchased a firearm from a private individual over the past 10 months and are concerned that firearm could be stolen, please contact the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department or the ATF Field Office and we will help you to determine if that firearm is stolen.”

“This investigation involved multiple kilos of methamphetamine, but the most alarming facts are the fact that these people were armed, that they flooded high-quality methamphetamine into small communities because this methamphetamine was over 90 percent pure.”

Gary Gaskins, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of W.Va., urged the few remaining people who had not been arrested to turn themselves in. He also noted the arrests made thus far have been routine, with no injuries to law enforcement or others.

Twelve people named in the 19-count firearms indictment are alleged to have conspired with one another to steal 120 firearms, sell those firearms and barter those firearms for drugs between October 2016 and August 2017, when the indictment was handed down.

The federal indictment alleges that on Oct. 23, Michael Lynn Lough, 32, of Buckhannon and Timothy Glen Woods, 28, of French Creek obtained a key to the cabin and made entry, where they stole some of the firearms.

Between Oct. 23 and Oct. 26, Lough and Woods, along with Johnny Lee Riley, 28, of Ellamore; Dustin Cain Anderson, 23, of Buckhannon; Benjamin Tyler Nazelrod, 26, of Buckhannon; and Danielle Paige Tanner, 22, of Glen Allen, Va., allegedly went to the cabin to steal firearms.

The indictment also alleges that Lough, Riley, Anderson, Nazelrod, Tanner, Lisa Kay Knight, 24, of Upshur County, and Kimberly Ann Warner, 26, of Buckhannon, photographed the firearms, looked up the value of the firearms stolen using a “Gun Bible” and made plans to sell the stolen firearms.

The firearms included various rifles and shotguns made by Ruger, Browning, Remington, Mossberg, Savage and more. Of note was a World War I era Windham Weaponry Inc. rifle.

Lough, Woods, Knight, Riley, Anderson, Nazelrod, Aaron McClain, 36, of Volga, Carla Denise Jones, 55, of Volga, Johnson, Clem, Warner and Tanner were indicted for conspiracy to possess stolen firearms. Lough, Woods, Knight, Riley, Anderson, Nazelrod, Warner and Tanner were indicted for possession of stolen firearms. Lough and Anderson were additionally indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm due to allegedly being an unlawful user of and addicted to methamphetamine, according to counts three and six of the indictment.

Riley was additionally indicted for possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm for being a convicted felon in counts four and five of the indictment. Aaron McClain and Jones were indicted for possession of stolen firearm — aiding and abetting — for allegedly possessing two of the stolen firearms in Barbour County and two counts each for unlawful possession of a firearm due to being unlawful users and addicted to meth and marijuana from October 2016 and February 2017 in Barbour County, according to counts eight, nine, 16 and 17 of the indictment.

Count 10 of the indictment alleges that Roger Lee Clem II, 30, of Weston, was in unlawful possession of a firearm due to previously being convicted of domestic assault, a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. In counts 11 and 12 respectively, Clem and Lough are alleged to have been in possession of a stolen firearm in Lewis County.

Johnson was additionally indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm in Upshur County, having been convicted of a felony,  possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in Upshur County and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime from a Dec. 8, 2016 incident, according to counts 13, 14 and 15 of the indictment.

Lough was also named in count 18 of the indictment for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in May 2017 in Lewis County and in count 19 of the indictment for possession of stolen firearms in Lewis County in June 2017.

In a separate 50-count indictment handed down by the federal grand jury, Amanda Mae Bachman, 33, of Buckhannon; Rocky Douglas Idleman, 38, of Clarksburg; Thunderbolt Dean Whaley, 40, of French Creek; Cassandra Tahj Riffle, 31, of Buckhannon; Melissa Ann Masuga, 33, of Buckhannon; Elizabeth Ellen Golden, 42, of Buckhannon; Steven Larry Harper, 39, of Buckhannon; Reggie McClain, 37, of Buckhannon; Brett Allen Reed, 23, of Buckhannon; Jerry Lee Stewart Jr., 27, of Weston; Angela Dawn White, 46, of Buckhannon; Clarissa Michelle Adkins, 24, of Wallace; Michael Lewis Woodyard, 26, of Clarksburg; Crystal Michelle Haggarty, 34, of Bridgeport; Cassie Chase Poland, 18, of Fairmont; Casey Jo Richards, 28, of Bridgeport; and Austin Jay Robinson, 18, of Belington, are alleged to have conspired with one another to distribute methamphetamine in Upshur County from March 2016 to August 2017 in count one of the indictment.

Harper was also indicted for distribution of methamphetamine in count two of the indictment from a June 2016 incident in Lewis County.

Reggie McClain was indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine on Oct. 29, 2016 for counts three and four of the indictment.

Bachman was indicted for maintaining a drug-involved premise in Upshur County between Nov. 4 and Dec. 8, 2016 under count five of the indictment and named in count six along with Harper for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine — aiding and abetting. Harper and Bachman were also each indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm. Count seven alleges that Harper is a convicted felon and count eight alleges that Bachman is an unlawful user and addicted to methamphetamine and heroin.

Whaley was indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm on two separate dates for having been convicted of a felony previously, according to counts nine and 16. And in count 10, Whaley and Bachman were indicted for possession of a stolen firearm — aiding and abetting stemming from a Dec. 12, 2016 incident in Lewis County. Golden allegedly received a firearm made from a shotgun that was not registered to her in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record on Dec. 22, 2016, according to count 11 of the indictment. Golden was also indicted for maintaining drug-involved premises between Dec. 25, 2016 and March 29, 2017 in Buckhannon under count 20 of the indictment.

Count 12 of the indictment alleges that Masuga gave a false statement to acquire a firearm by answering no to the question “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” on a firearms transaction record in Lewis County on Feb. 23, 2017. Counts 13 and 14 charge Masuga with unlawful possession of a firearm due to being an unlawful user of and addicted to meth and possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine in proximity of a protected location — that is within 1,000 feet of West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Woodyard was indicted under counts 15, 17 and 18 for giving a false statement to acquire a firearm due to answering no to the question “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” on a firearms transaction record in Harrison County on March 8, 11 and 19 of this year. Woodyard was also indicted under counts 43 and 46 for unlawful possession of a firearm.

White was indicted in count 19 for distribution of methamphetamine in Upshur County on March 22, 2017. White and Golden were indicted for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine — aiding and abetting from count 22 of the indictment and Golden was also indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm due to allegedly being an unlawful user of and addicted to meth in count 21 of the indictment.  Riffle and Reed were indicted for maintaining drug-involved premises — aiding and abetting  and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine — aiding and abetting in counts 23 and 24 of the indictment.  Additionally, Riffle was also indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm in count 25 and a second count of unlawful possession of a firearm in Randolph County in count 37. Adkins was indicted for distribution of methamphetamine in Harrison County in March 2017, according to count 26, and unlawful possession of a firearm in Upshur County on April 17 under count 35.  Count 27 lists Poland and Robinson as being indicted for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine — aiding and abetting, while counts 28 through 30 list Stewart as being indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime in Lewis County on April 15.

Idleman was additionally indicted for distribution of methamphetamine, two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm in Upshur County on April 17 and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, according to counts 31-34. Idleman was also indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm in Harrison County in August under count 50.

Richards was indicted for distribution of methamphetamine in Harrison County on April 19, according to count 36.

Haggarty was indicted for distribution of methamphetamine in Harrison County on May 4, under count 38 and indicted for distribution of methamphetamine in Harrison County on May 10, under count 42.

Riffle was also indicted for maintaining drug-involved premises, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of a firearm in Upshur County on May 5, 2017, according to counts 39-41.

Stewart was indicted under counts 44-45 for unlawful possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and in June in Lewis County.

Whaley was indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine  and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking felony in Lewis County in July under counts 47-49.

Haddix, the resident agent in charge of ATF Clarksburg field office, credited the various law enforcement agencies for working together on the case.

“This investigation emphasizes the importance of cooperative law enforcement,” he said.
“This investigation would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department, the Weston Police Department, the Buckhannon Police Department, the West Virginia State Police and especially Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Warner and the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department. They have all been — especially Warner and the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department — vital partners in this case with ATF.”

Gaskins, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of W.Va., echoed those comments.

“The days of the local police department or one municipality or one agency working on an investigation are probably a thing of the past,” he said. “You have task forces and you have multi-cooperation units here from city, state and federal. It’s far-reaching.”

About $46,000 in cash was seized in the course of the investigation.

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