CRAIG COUNTY – Starting at 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 10, Craig County Sheriff’s Deputies and Virginia State Police officers began making what were probably unwelcome wake-up calls: serving warrants and bringing in for arrest the majority of 32 Craig County residents charged with dealing heroin, cocaine and morphine, abused prescription pain killers and related crimes.
The charges came out of sealed indictments handed down Monday, Nov. 8, by the Craig County Grand Jury. Five charged with heroin and other serious drugs are still being sought, Craig County Sheriff Clifford Davidson said.
The most serious offenses were heroin distribution and second-degree murder for an apparent overdose death. Suspects were also charged with manufacturing and possession of marijuana, possession and selling Oxycontin and similar drugs, morphine, possession of moonshine, and child endangerment.
They were charged with a total of 58 felonies and eight misdemeanors, Craig County Sheriff Clifford Davidson said, adding that all but one were Craig County residents.
Jessica Gallimore Rock, 32, was charged with second-degree murder in the apparent overdose death of her friend, Lisa Deel, whose body was found in the yard of the Mountain View Apartments in New Castle on July 29.
Virginia State Police Special Agent Mike Bowman explained Rock is charged with not rendering medical assistance. Deel apparently overdosed on heroin and alcohol, according to medical examiner results, after the two had been to Roanoke to purchase and share heroin.
Bowman and Davidson said the heroin involved in the arrests was coming out of Philadelphia. New Castle resident Barry “B.J.” Monroe Owens Jr., 29, was arrested in September and is due to stand trial in federal court in January for five charges related to heroin and heroin trafficking.
According to reports, a 27-year-old man in Philadelphia has been charged by federal prosecutors with providing heroin Owens brought in.
It was a busy day in New Castle, as officers brought in the suspects for booking in the Craig County Sheriff’s Office, which also is a sub-office for the Virginia State Police. The rescue squad had to be called to check out of those charged, Brenda Strough, who became hysterical while being booked. She is charged with manufacturing/possession of marijuana, a felony.
By 5 p.m. Wednesday, 23 of the 32 were in custody, Bowman said.
Three men were arrested on heroin charges, and three others are being sought for heroin offenses. Davidson identified the three arrested as:
• Alfred Erber, who was charged with three counts of manufacturing, selling and distributing heroin, and
• Bradley Billow – possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, possession of methamphetamine.
• David Kessler, two counts of possession/sell heroin.
Warrants are still outstanding for three suspected of heroin distribution or conspiracy to distribute heroin who have not yet been located. The sheriff identified them and their charges as:
• Bobby Harless – charged with six total felony charges. They are: two charges of possess/sell heroin; three charges of marijuana, as well as cocaine, Lortab and Oxycotin, and one misdemeanor drug charge;
• Christine Compton – charged with felony charge of manufacture, sale or distribute heroin, and also, a charge of manufacture, sale or distribute morphine;
• Lloyd Wright – conspire to distribute heroin.
Others still at large and their charges were listed as:
• Jenifer Harter – felony charge possession of manufacture marijuana, and a misdemeanor charge of possess marijuana.
• Shawn Harter – felony charge manufacture marijuana, and misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.
Davidson identified those who were arrested and charged last week as:
• Gloria Campbell – manufacture/possess marijuana;
• Joshua Greenway – 2 counts selling/distributing marijuana;
• James Hunter – possess cocaine;
• Gale Jones – possess methamphetamines;
• Melinda Kingrea – two counts possession/selling Lortab;
• Steven Kingrea – conspiracy to sell Lortab;
• Gregory Looney – possess/sell marijuana;
• Jerry Wayne Mays – possess/sell Lortab;
• Melissa Mays – possession/selling Lortab;
• Mark Leftwich – possess marijuana, three counts possess firearm after being convicted of a felony;
• Joshua Mullins – possess/sell Vicatin; possession/selling Lortab;
• Matthew Owens – two counts possess/sell marijuana;
• Patricia Tingler – manufacture/possess marijuana;
• Kyle Dean Saul – manufacture/possess marijuana, possess with intent to distribute marijuana (more than 1/2 oz.), possess untaxed liquor;
• Regina Saul – manufacture/possess marijuana, possess with intent to distribute marijuana (more than 1/2 oz), possess untaxed liquor;
• Oscar Earnest Sheppard – possess/sell Oxycotin, possess/sell Roxycontin; possess/sell Oxycotin;
• Troy Smith – possess morphine, and child endangerment;
• Debra St. Peter – manufacture/sell marijuana;
• Richard St. Peter – manufacture/sell marijuana;
• Preston Saunders – possess methamphetamines;
• Brenda Strough, manufacture/possess marijuana;
• Billy Whiting – manufacture/possess marijuana;
• Christopher Will – possess/sell Methadone, possess/sell Methadone tablets;
Speaking about the 8-month-long investigation and grand jury indictments, Special Agent Bowman said at the Nov. 10 press conference: “I think this speaks volumes for your law enforcement in Craig County, that they were able to keep the names and charges secret.” Bowman, who works out of the Salem Division, lives in Craig County.