HUTTONSVILLE, WV (WOWK) — A Huttonsville correctional officer has been charged for allegedly bringing controlled substances and contraband into the facility over the course of three months.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police, during the months of April through July, Homer Howell, 39, “conspired and delivered controlled substances/contraband into Huttonsville Correctional Facility and Jail while performing his duties as a correctional officer.”
During that time, Howell and an inmate in the facility allegedly “acted together” in conjunction with a woman outside of the facility “to help facilitate the delivery of contraband/controlled substances into Huttonsville,” troopers said.
The female individual “could collect U.S. currency via Cash App” and then would send Howell payments through Western Union; Howell, “upon receipt, would deliver packages into the jail,” according to the complaint.
Howell allegedly received two packages, one of which contained two cell phones and “suspected anabolic steroids”; Howell told troopers that “he would receive $1,000 to $2,000 per package,” and that he received a total of $8,000-$10,000 in total through the period of April to July, troopers said.
The complaint states that on July 18, troopers working with the Mountain Rivers Drug Task Force and the Mountain Lakes Drug Task Force and the Elkins Police Department executed a search warrant on Howell’s home.
During the search, law enforcement located two opened bottles of “suspected anabolic steroids” in 60 count per bottle, an LG flip phone, an LG smart phone and a sheet of paper “with possible package delivery dates”; Howell was not at the residence at the time of the search, troopers said.
On Aug. 2, Howell arrived at the Elkins detachment for an interview, and after being read his Miranda rights, he agreed to provide an audio statement, according to the complaint.
During his statement, Howell “advised that he would take the packages to an inmate … in cylindrical tubes wrapped in black electrical tape … by simply putting them in his pants pocket,” troopers said.
Howell told troopers that “he believed he was taking in sewing needles and hair grease,” but later told deputies ‘Deep in my heart and soul, I knew it was probably drugs,’ according to the complaint.
Troopers learned that the items found during the search “were supposed to go to the inmate,” and Howell told troopers that “he was supposed to keep the other phone”; Howell also told troopers that “he would help [troopers] by providing information about other individuals involved if he received relevant information,” troopers said.
On Aug. 11, troopers spoke with the inmate involved in the incident and received an audio statement after reading the inmate a Miranda statement, according to the complaint.
During that statement, the inmate “denied having much involvement” but he “did admit to helping gather money and helping people on the outside … collect money for him,” and that the inmate “believed collecting the money was related to drugs,” troopers said.
Howell has been charged with aiding escape and other offenses relating to adults in custody. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $50,000 bond.