Anti-drug efforts touted by sheriff

Randolph County Sheriff Mark T. Brady gives the Randolph County Commission a report on the activity of the Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task during their Thursday meeting.

ELKINS — In the wake of recent public outcries regarding the drug problem in Randolph County, Sheriff Mark T. Brady gave statistics on what’s been done both by the Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force as well as the Sheriff’s Office during Thursday’s Randolph County Commission meeting.

Brady said the task force has investigated, arrested and prosecuted more than 100 drug and firearm traffickers in federal court from all over the region.

He added the drugs and firearms come from Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, New Jersey and California. The substances trafficked include heroin, methamphetamine (ice), cocaine (crack), prescription pills, synthetic cannabinoids and marijuana. He added officials have also discovered C-4, blasting caps and “hundreds of firearms they used to protect their trade.”

“There have been in excess of 100 search warrants and countless hours involved in these investigations,” Brady said. “Without this task force, I can only imagine where we would be in the trafficking of drugs in this county and this region.”

Brady told Commissioners that, in the coming months, he would be coming before the Commission to request additional manpower for the task force to continue their work.

“The safety of our children, our grandchildren, our citizens and community deserve no less,” Brady said. “We are well aware of the negative impact these drugs have done to our community.”

The Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force was formed approximately four years ago, according to Brady.

It features one Randolph County Sheriff’s deputy as well as part-time law enforcement officers from Tucker County, the West Virginia State Police, the United States Forest Service, the ATF, the DEA, the United States Postal Service and the Tucker, Pocahontas,and Randolph counties prosecuting attorney’s offices, as well as the United States Attorney’s Office.

“These guys have worked well together, have put in a lot of dedicated hours and, using the resources of everybody, the federal government, the state and the county has led to what we’ve accomplished in this task force,” Brady said. “Like I said, I don’t know where we’d be without this task force.”

At the county level, Brady reported the RCSO saw increases in most categories — including total calls, motor vehicle collisions, traffic stops, and felony and misdemeanor cases — in the past year.

“The sheriff’s office is very, very busy,” Brady said. “Sometimes our resources are very taxed.”

He added the office covers 1,040 square miles of the “rural, mountainous” county. He added that he is appreciative of the effort of the deputies and would like to see the statistics decreasing.

“The amount of work and the amount of stuff that’s been going on with this sheriff’s office, I commend the deputies and the hard work they’ve put into it,” Brady said. “I would like to be able to give you numbers that are on the decrease but that’s not reflective in the work we’re doing.”

In other business:

• Commissioners unanimously approved a request from Valley Health Care for a letter of support for a funding request to the United States Department of Agriculture to purchase property to expand their practice. The request is for support only, not for any monetary donation.

• Commissioners took under advisement a funding request from the Tucker Community Foundation for their upcoming “Run For It” event.

• Commissioners unanimously approved the hire of Howard Kenneth Watson as a part-time court security officer/jailer. The position, which will begin Feb. 21, is non-benefited at the rate of $12.50 an hour.