Bond reduced in drug case

ELKINS – Bond was modified Monday for a Beverly man accused of growing marijuana at his residence.

Steven Caraballo, 46, was arrested July 29 on one felony count of manufacture of a controlled substance and housed in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $125,000 cash or surety bond.

On Monday, Caraballo waived his preliminary hearing and Randolph County Magistrate Rob Elbon agreed to reduce the amount of his bond to $15,000 cash or surety, with the condition that Caraballo report daily to North Central Community Corrections for random drug screenings.

According to the criminal complaint, at approximately 10:30 a.m. July 28, members of the West Virginia State Police Elkins Detachment conducted aerial surveillance to “eradicate marijuana in Randolph County.”

At the same time, Sgt. J.M. Menendez and Cpl. M.S. Wetzel were traveling eastbound on Rich Mountain Road near the incorporated limits of Beverly when Wetzel “observed marijuana plants in plain view positioned on top of a driveway situated off the north roadway edge of Rich Mountain Road,” the complaint states.

Menendez and Wetzel traveled up the private driveway and Wetzel observed “24 marijuana plants growing in plastic containers in plain view along with potting, soil, fertilizer and numerous empty plastic containers.” Wetzel then conducted a search warrant on the residence and located “three weapons, marijuana, marijuana seed and paraphernalia inside Caraballo’s bedroom,” according to the complaint.

Wetzel also observed a “small marijuana plant growing in dirt, positioned on the window seal (sic) where it could get sunlight inside Caraballo’s bedroom,” the complaint states.

Upon a further search of the exterior of the residence, police found “two marijuana plants growing in a flower garden approximately five feet west of the residence.”

Trooper S.W. Shahan, who assisted at the scene, found a “path from Caraballo’s driveway to a clearing in the woods and located approximately four more marijuana plants.” Police said there was also a walking path from the marijuana plants in the driveway to the rear door of Caraballo’s residence, according to the complaint.

Caraballo told police “he is the only one who resides at the residence and denied growing the marijuana plants,” the complaint states.

Also in Randolph County Magistrate Court Monday:

A preliminary hearing was continued for David C. Abbott, 45, of Richmond, Va., who is charged with one felony count of bigamy.

A warrant for Abbott’s arrest was issued on Dec. 3, 2003, by Randolph County Magistrate Michele Good.

According to the criminal complaint, on Dec. 3, 2003, Sr. Tpr. C.B. Shrader of the West Virginia State Police was told by Leigh Ann Rhinehart Abbott that “she was currently in the process of having her marriage annulled and during the paperwork process being completed by her attorney it was discovered that Abbott had not been legally divorced in the state of Virginia, County of Powhatan.”

Abbott is currently free on a $10,000 cash or surety bond.