KINGWOOD, W.Va. – Law enforcement officers from several different agencies made seven drug arrests in Preston County Wednesday.
All of the arrests came after traffic stops where K9s gave positive indications of drugs being in the vehicles, and all appear to have happened in the vicinity of Marvin’s Mountaintop, where the Resonance Music and Arts Festival is being held this week. All but one of the people arrested are from out of state.
In one incident, a Preston County Sheriff’s deputy pulled a car over on Nuce Road, after it failed to stop at a stop sign, the deputy said. While the deputy was giving the car’s driver a warning for the stop sign violation, a Harrison County Sheriff’s deputy used his K9 to check the outside of the vehicle, resulting in a positive indication, a criminal complaint detailed. Deputies then found a large black case in the back seat of the car, which contained digital scales, a large amount of marijuana and a large amount of psilocybin mushrooms, individually packaged in jars, court documents said. The case had an ID card for the car’s passenger, Bryce Gaetano, 26 of Boardman, Ohio, on it, deputies said. Gaetano told the deputies that he was a priest and that the substances were for a religious purpose.
Gaetano is charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute and two counts of transporting controlled substances into the state. He is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail with his bail set at $25,000.
In a different instance, another Preston County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a van, because it had no inspection sticker on it, the deputy said. The driver, William Salomone, 28 of Marlinton, handed over a Virginia driver’s license, explaining that he had lived in West Virginia for a year but had not changed his license, according to court documents. Meanwhile, a Harrison County Sheriff’s deputy — a different one than in the Gaetano arrest — used his K9 to sniff Salomone’s van. When asked to be honest about what was in the van, Salomone handed the deputy two jars of marijuana, his criminal complaint said. A further search revealed several scales, one with a large amount of THC wax on it, a Crown Royal bag with 10 THC wax containers, a basket with what appeared to be approximately 50 THC cookies and a large rifle case full of glass pipes packaged to sell, the complaint detailed.
Salomone is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, with bail set at $10,000.
In a separate incident, a West Virginia State Trooper, based at the Wheeling detachment, pulled a pick-up truck over on Sunny Hill Road, after the driver made an illegal U-turn, the trooper said. The trooper saw rolling papers in the center console and asked the driver, Nicholas Johnson, 23 of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to step out of the truck. Johnson told the trooper that there were no drugs in the truck and denied consent for the truck to be searched, court documents said.
A deputy from the Preston County Sheriff’s Office then ran a K9 around the truck, and the dog indicated for the presence of drugs twice, the trooper said. During a search of the vehicle, a jar of THC extract, digital scales, smoking devices, a vacuum sealing machine, magnetic stash boxes and cash were found, according to court documents.
Johnson, along with passengers, Katherine Botzet, 29 of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and Sara Stockard, 24 of Ashby, Minnesota, were then arrested and each charged with transporting narcotics into the state, possession with intent to distribute THC and conspiracy to commit a felony.
The three are all being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail with bail set at $75,000 each.
In another incident, a Clarksburg Police officer pulled a car over on Route 7, because it had a broken brake light, documents said. The officer had her K9 perform a sniff outside of the vehicle, which gave a positive indication of drugs, she said. A search of the car produced a large amount of marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, capsules containing ground psilocybin mushrooms, a small amount of LSD, more than $1,100 in cash and packaging materials, court documents said.
The driver, Alexandria Farber, 26 of Muskegon, Michigan and her passenger, Lucas Dawson, 25 of Grand Rapids, Michigan, were each charged with possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy.
The pair are also being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail with Farber’s bail set at $25,000 and Dawson’s at $75,000.