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Residents thankful for drug arrests in Charles Town

February 09, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Residents in the North Church Street area were so happy about a crack cocaine bust in their neighborhood Wednesday night that they gave the Charles Town Police Department a cake on Thursday to thank them.

The neighbors were reacting to the culmination of a drug investigation that started in July 2006 and involved five instances where police used a confidential informant to purchase crack cocaine, police said.

The residents who brought the cake that read "Thanks" across the top of it had been complaining to police about the problem, Charles Town Police Chief Barry Subelsky said.

"I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. It really had a good effect on the officers and me," Subelsky said.

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The investigation came to a head about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday when a controlled drug buy set up by police using a confidential informant resulted in a $100 purchase of crack cocaine. Police also searched a house at 113 N. Church St., and found a loaded 9 mm gun and suspected crack cocaine, police said.

Randy Stefon Humphrey, 19, of 113 N. Church St., was arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine. Devonne Joseph Cooper, 18, of 113 N. Church St., was charged with five counts of distribution of crack cocaine and one count of possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

On Thursday afternoon, Humphrey was being held at Eastern Regional Jail on $100,000 bond, and Cooper was being held in the jail on $200,000 bond, a spokesman there said.

Residents in the North Church Street area had complained to police about large numbers of people coming and going from 113 N. Church St., according to a criminal complaint filed in magistrate court by C.A. Kutcher of the Charles Town Police Department.

Residents said they witnessed hand-to-hand transactions, Kutcher said.

The first controlled drug buy by Charles Town Police using a confidential informant occurred July 18 when $100 worth of crack cocaine allegedly was purchased from Cooper, Kutcher said in his complaint.

Three more controlled purchases of crack cocaine using a confidential informant were made from Cooper on July 25, July 31 and Oct. 5, Kutcher alleged.

The purchase Wednesday night of $100 worth of crack cocaine from Cooper was completed using a confidential informant at the corner of East Liberty and North Church streets, Kutcher said. Cooper walked to his house and was taken into custody by Charles Town Police and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officers, Kutcher said.

Humphrey was found in Cooper's house and he had a plastic bag with several pieces of suspected crack cocaine, Kutcher said.

During a search of the house, police found smoking devices, individually packaged bags of suspected crack cocaine, a loaded 9 mm gun in the living room, 9 mm rounds and other items, Kutcher said in his complaint.

Kutcher alleged Humphrey and Cooper told police that they were drug sellers, were unemployed and needed to make money.

It is the second cocaine bust in Charles Town in the last five weeks.

On Jan. 4, four Maryland residents were arrested on drug charges after Charles Town police allege they participated in the trade of firearms for crack cocaine, police said.

Kutcher said Thursday night's bust was not related to the Jan. 4 arrests.

Charles Town has had serious problems with drug trafficking in the past but they seemed to dry up after local police and the Drug Enforcement Agency put pressure on them, police have said.

Kutcher said drug trafficking is a problem that will crop up in town occasionally.

"I don't think you will ever remove it from the community," Kutcher said.

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