Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:22PM - 1021 Views

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Staff Writer

RED JACKET - “This is what can be accomplished when everyone comes together and works as a team,”

commented Mingo County Special Investigator Eugene Crum, speaking about drug raids that were

conducted at 3 different locations in Red Jacket and North Matewan Friday evening that resulted in 3

arrests and the confiscation of over $3,000 in cash and a variety of drugs and paraphernalia.

“We’ve been working on this case for approximately the past 2 months,” stated Williamson Police Chief

C.D. Rockel. “We have had numerous complaints and tips called in about the individuals we arrested this

evening. People were coming out of their homes tonight shaking our hands and thanking us for helping

to clean up their neighborhoods and put a dent in the drug activity that’s been going on for far too


“They’ve had enough, they’re tired of seeing this go on day after day and tonight is a prime example of

what hard work, strategic planning and team work can accomplish.”

John Bland, Sr., 51, and Megan Burger, 25, of Red Jacket, along with Nicholas Bland, 27, of North

Matewan, were arrested on a variety of drug-related charges and according to Crum and Rockel, more

charges are pending against the defendants. A warrant has also been issued for another member of the

Bland family and the officers are confident he will be in custody in the near future.

Confinscated in the raid were items that include a 30/30 caliber rifle, 2 model 380 caliber semi-

automatics and 1 22 caliber revolver; a number of Hydrocodone (Lortab) tablets, 3 sets of digital scales,

miracle grow that is used as a fertilizer for the marijuana plants, an assortment of drug paraphernalia

and approximately 8 lbs. of high-grade marijuana with an estimated street value of $13,600.

Rockel and Crum stated that they want to extend a special thanks to the mayors of the municipalities

who participated in the drug raid, saying that they greatly appreciate the willingness of Delbarton Mayor

John Preece, Matewan Mayor Shelia Kessler, Williamson Mayor Darrin McCormick and Gilbert Mayor

Vivian Livingood to allow their officers to be a part of the drug task force that has to date, made 30

felony drug arrests since the 1st of August.

“Without the mayors allowing these officers to participate and giving us locations to hold our planning

sessions, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we have, and I personally want to tell the leaders of

the towns in Mingo County that we appreciate you more than we can say,” said Rockel.

John Bland. Sr. was charged with delivery of a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana) and

conspiracy to deliver a Schedule I controlled substance. Nicholas Bland was arrested on charges of

delivery of a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana) within 1,000 feet of a school (Omega Christian

Academy), and conspiracy to deliver a Schedule I controlled substance. Burger was charged with

possession with intent to deliver a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana), and is facing further

charges of child endangerment in regards to allegedly committing these crimes in the presence of her 4

year-old child. The child was released to the custody of family members following the mother’s arrest.

The defendants were remanded to the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden and are scheduled to be

arraigned via video by Mingo County Magistrate Pam Newsome, and will then appear in court for a

preliminary hearing in the near future.

“It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen the amount of participation from a variety of officers like

we experienced here tonight,” remarked Chief Rockel. “The members of the Mingo County Sheriff’s

Department that assisted us did an exceptional job, along with all of the officers from the various

municipalities. Home Confinement Officer Kevin Wilson also came out and gave us a hand and we

appreciate that.”

“We had 22 law enforcement officers that were divided up into several teams tonight during our

planning session prior to the bust, and were given assignments outlining what they were to do. These

are very precise, well planned and thought-out raids. They’re not thrown together at a moment’s notice.

There are a lot of hours of thorough investigation that goes into these cases before we ever take the

first step out of the door.”

If you have information that is related to drug activity in your community, Crum and Rockel encourages

you to contact either the Mingo County Drug Task Force Tip Line at 304-235-3375 or 235-3376, or your

local municipality police and report the alleged crimes.

“Rest assured that you can remain anonymous,” said Rockel. “We don’t need your name, only your

information and your participation.”

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