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Nine charged in W.Va. drug sweep

January 21, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - For years, Charles Town Police Capt. Louis Brunswick has listened to critics who claimed that police officers were not doing anything about the drug dealing in the community.

He knew they were wrong, but he could not reveal the details of a months-long undercover operation underway in the community since September.

On Tuesday morning, Brunswick, Ranson Police Chief William Roper and Jefferson County Sheriff William Senseney held a press conference to announce that nine people had been arrested on drug charges in a weekend sweep.

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"All we could say before was, `We'll take care of it,'" Brunswick said.

The nine were charged with a variety of drug offenses stemming from an undercover investigation that was conducted by a task force made up of one officer from each agency.

The task force was created in response to complaints about drug trafficking in neighborhoods such as the 500 block of West Congress Street in Charles Town, police officials said.

Drug deals were even taking place outside of the House of Prayer Church, Brunswick said.

Undercover officers bought drugs during the investigation and gathered other information intended to help their cases in court, police officials said.

The public helped considerably by calling a crime tip line, 728-COPS, and providing information about drug dealers, said Brunswick and Jefferson County Chief Deputy Jesse Jones.

The line receives 12 to 15 calls a week, he said.

"We do not want the citizens to think their calls go unheeded," Brunswick said. "It just takes a while (to build a case)."

Most of the area's drug investigations are handled by the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, police officials said.

The task force created by three Jefferson County police agencies was aimed at street-level dealers, but could follow up on investigations into higher levels of trafficking, Roper said.

"There's plenty of work for everybody," Senseney. Police officials said they plan to keep their drug task force together as much as possible, although doing so will be difficult because of staffing shortages.

They said officers sometimes could work only one or two days a week on their drug investigations and the rest of the time on unrelated cases. Eventually, they would like the officers to be able to work full time on narcotics cases.

According to police, those arrested on Friday were:

  • Jenny Rebecca Kackley, 24, of Charles Town, was charged with possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine. She was being held at the Eastern Regional Jail on $25,000 bond.
  • Henry Clayton Edwards, of Charles Town, was charged with distribution of crack cocaine and conspiracy. He was being held at the jail on $50,000 bond.
  • Ernest Lydell Hester, 33, of Charles Town, was charged with distribution of crack cocaine. He was being held at the jail on $25,000 bond.
  • Beverly Jane "B.J." Hester, of Charles Town, was charged with distribution of a controlled dangerous substance.
  • Tyrone W. McDonald, of Charles Town, was charged with two counts of distribution of crack cocaine. He was being held at the jail on $50,000 bond.
  • Joe Nathan Hunt, 36, of Capital Heights, Md., was charged with distribution of crack cocaine. He was being held at the jail on $25,000 bond.
  • Jeremy Jenkins, of Charles Town, was charged with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. He was being held at the jail on $25,000 bond.
  • Thomas Hardy, 24, of Ranson, was charged with distribution of marijuna and conspiracy. He was being held at the jail on $25,000 bond.
  • Olin M. Gaskins, 19, of Ranson, was charged with distribution of crack cocaine. He was being held at the jail on $25,000 bond.
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