Belington man enters plea to meth charge

A Belington man who was arrested in August 2012 after police discovered what they believed to be a mobile methamphetamine lab in a van parked near Bob’s Hotdogs in Norton pleaded guilty to drug charges Tuesday in federal magistrate court.

Gary Rudolph Loy, 40, of Belington, pleaded guilty to a sole count of manufacturing methamphetamine, a felony, in front of U.S. Magistrate John S. Kaull. Loy appeared with his attorney, assistant public defender Katy Cimino.

According to the terms of the plea agreement, the remaining charges pending against Loy – two felony counts of possession of material used in the manufacture of methamphetamine – will be dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea to Count 2 of the indictment, which was handed down by a federal grand jury in April.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Warner also agreed to recommend a two-level reduction under the federal uniform sentencing guidelines for acceptance of responsibility and a one-level reduction for timely acceptance of responsibility, provided Loy continues to adhere to a specific set of conditions.

“I will also recommend that he be sentenced at the lowest end of his applicable guideline,” Warner said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

Kaull explained that by pleading guilty, Loy has exposed himself to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, a $1 million fine and three years of supervised probation following his release from incarceration.

The charge to which Loy pleaded guilty stems from an incident that took place Aug. 28, 2012, when Trooper 1st Class G.S. Deweese with the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police responded to a be-on-the-lookout call for Loy, who had three active felony warrants in Barbour County and one active felony warrant in Randolph County.

DeWeese allegedly found Loy, his then-girlfriend, Tonya Warner, also of Belington, and their 3- and 4-year-old children – along with a “shake-and-bake” mobile meth lab – in a white van in the parking lot in front of Bob’s Hotdogs.

DeWeese first encountered Loy in the back of the van, where he had been hiding, and subsequently discovered substances in the vehicle that tested positive for methamphetamine at the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab, the trooper testified Tuesday.

“Was it an active cook?” Kaull asked DeWeese.

“It was the remnants of it,” DeWeese answered, “but Trooper (D.R.) Wolford, who is a clandestine lab technician, has told us that a cook is considered active until all of the chemicals have dissipated. Once they start mixing the chemicals, it just doesn’t stop right away.”

In April, Tonya Warner – Loy’s girlfriend at the time – pleaded guilty to child neglect, a felony, and obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor, in Randolph County Circuit Court.

Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong sentenced her to one to five years in the state penitentiary in May; however, Wilfong suspended the sentence, requiring Warner to serve five years of supervised probation, complete classes through North Central Community Corrections and pay the cost of her court-appointed attorney and court costs.

Once scheduled, Loy will self-report for a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey.

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