BEN CREEK — An incident that began as a report of a domestic assault in progress at a Ben Creek residence quickly turned into a drug investigation after an active Clandestine (Meth) Lab was found in the home of the defendant accused of assault.
Mingo County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) Deputy R. Fitch was dispatched to the home of the grandmother (not identified by name) of Kevin Browning, 31, of Wharncliffe, who called Mingo County 911 and said that her grandson was threatening to harm her. Upon arrival, the officer, who was assisted by the Asst. Police Chief of Gilbert, N. Glanden and Lt. D. Salmons, was told by the grandmother that she didn’t wish to press charges and that Kevin had left and went to his home, which was located next door. When the officers knocked on the door, Browning is said to have answered. Upon entering, the police observed a large quantity of smoke inside the residence and could hear the sound of several people running through the home.
The officers were given permission by Browning and his wife Amy, 31, to search the residence, and asked the homeowners how many people were inside besides them, and were told that four people were present, but were hiding from the officers. While searching for the remaining defendants, the police detected a foul odor and found the source of the smoke and smell; a Clandestine Lab was in plain view in the center of the kitchen floor.
MCSD Cpl. N. Mines and Deputy E. Sherrill arrived on scene, along with West Virginia State Police Troopers Purdue, Tupper, Kania and Dean. The officers located the remainder of those hiding and identified them as Melissa Davis, 46; Hollene Doub, 30; Jonathan Eads, 28; and Nikeya Tyler, 36, all of St. Albans. Eads had been released from jail within the last week on operating a Clandestine Lab charges, and also had another identical charge in 2009.
“The smoke was so thick in the residence that you had to use a flashlight to even see the couch,” stated Cpl. Mines. “It was a dangerous situation for everyone involved. I’m glad that we were able to make these arrests before the product could be manufactured and sold.”
STAT Ambulance was called to the scene along with the WV Department of Environmental Protection. The defendants refused medical treatment.
The six who were arrested were transported to the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden and were then arraigned via video by Mingo County Magistrate Pam Newsome. Bond was set at $10,000, full cash, for each of them. They are scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Newsome next week.
The investigation into this case is ongoing and more information will released as it becomes available.