Man arrested for selling drugs in motel

A Mill Creek man remains incarcerated on a $75,000 cash-only bond after police arrested him for allegedly selling drugs out of a motel Wednesday.

Donald Ray Cantrell Jr., 37, was arraigned on charges of possession with intent to deliver, second offense, a felony and child neglect creating risk of injury, also a felony, on Thursday in Randolph Magistrate Court. While serving a search warrant, police found a pill bottle full of marijuana plant seeds in the Valley View Motel room Cantrell was occupying with a 1-year-old child.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk’s Office, U.S. Forest Service Officer D.K. Frazier, Sgt. B.T. Pawelczyk with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Officer and Deputy B. Sharp with the RCSO executed a search warrant on Valley View Motel room 6 in Mill Creek on Wednesday. Frazier knocked on the door of the hotel room twice and announced that police were present with a search warrant three times. Cantrell didn’t answer the door even though officers had allegedly spotted him in the hotel room prior to attempting to serve the warrant, the complaint states.

After gaining forcible entry, police saw Cantrell and a small child and smelled a strong odor of marijuana.

“It was also noted that the toilet in the bathroom was running, leading officers to believe that it had just been flushed,” Frazier wrote in the complaint. Cantrell informed police that there was “a little” marijuana on the top of a water tank located in the motel room. Soon after, he was handcuffed and placed in a police cruiser, while another adult was called to the scene to take custody of the young child.

Police then searched the motel room and Cantrell’s dark green Jeep Cherokee – in the Jeep, they allegedly found a box containing a marijuana pipe, a scale, a plate and a “snort straw,” all of which field-tested positive for the presence of cocaine. Officers also found marijuana seeds in the center console.

The officers allegedly discovered “numerous” marijuana seeds concealed inside an Ibuprofen bottle; a plastic bag of marijuana; “numerous small plastic baggies that displayed a red lip logo;” 18 rolls of coins and $2 of loose coins; and $1,250, among other items allegedly used to package drugs, the complaint states.

Frazier wrote that based on his training and experience, marijuana seeds “are routinely possessed for the manufacturing, cultivation and distribution of this illegal drug.”

Frazier also noted that throughout the course of his investigation of Cantrell, he had been advised that people frequently stopped by the hotel for short visits. Cantrell, who had reportedly occupied the motel room since Feb. 14, had also covered the motel room windows with blankets.

“This officer believes that this was the further conceal the illegal activities being conducted within the motel room,” Frazier wrote. “During surveillance of motel room 6, the defendant (Cantrell) was observed making numerous visual checks of the common parking area of the motel.” Frazier believed that Cantrell’s “visual checks,” were “due to the defendant conducting his own surveillance to avoid law enforcement and screen potential customers.”

Frazier noted that Cantrell was allegedly trafficking drugs within 1,000 feet of Tygarts Valley High School and George Ward Elementary School. Cantrell was charged with second-offense possession with intent to deliver because a records check revealed that he’d previously been convicted on Sept. 9, 2005 for possession with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance, crack cocaine.

Magistrate Rob Elbon set bond at $75,000 cash only, and Cantrell remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of presstime.

According to state code, the penalty for a conviction of child neglect creating risk of injury is a fine of up to $3,000 and one to five years in the state penitentiary. The penalty for possession with intent to deliver, second or subsequent offense, is imprisonment up to twice the term authorized for the first offense (one to 15 years in the state penitentiary), a fine up to twice as much authorized for the first offense (a fine of up to $25,000) or both.

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