The object of the task force’s activity, Roger “Buck” Messer, 38, of Dingess, was lodged briefly in Southwestern Regional Jail near Holden until his arraignment before Magistrate Pam Newsome on five charges. He was free after posting a $50,000 bond.
Williamson Police Lt. C.D. Rockel, who already has an enviable reputation for his work in combatting the drug problem in Mingo County, is a member of the task force which also includes three West Virginia State Police officers — Cpl. S.T. Harper, Senior Tpr. C.D. Kuhn and Tpr. B.R. Moore.
Rockel described his role as “assistant” to the state police as they work all over Mingo County in efforts to find and eradicate the drug problem while helping to prosecute the persons reponsible for the drugs.
Rockel said the above drama took place in a remote area of Dingess, called “Hogger Hollow,” which is in the area of the county road near Breeden.
The visit to and search of Messer’s home in a secluded place occurred after a month-long investigation into alleged drug activities in progress in that area.
In fact, after officers arrested Messer on five major charges, confiscated $1,300 in cash found in the home and dealt with a cache of volatile explosive devices, two “customers” drove up in a four-wheel drive and were viewed as potential buyers. Rockel said the two were lectured severely but escaped arrest.
The four officers converged on “Hogger Hollow” about 10:30 p.m. Monday (April 20) and during the next several hours (until about 2 a.m. Tuesday), executed a search warrant and scoured the Messer property in search of incriminating evidence of drug activity.
Records in Magistrate Court show that Messer is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance (marijuana); one count of possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver; one count of cultivating marijuana, and possession of explosives.
Rockel said the officers summoned Cpl. Larry Rockel, a conservation officer with the Department of Natural Resources, after they found five racks (antlers) of deer near an outbuilding on the Messer property. He said Messer is being charged with illegal possession of wild life.
After executing their search warrant, the officers said they found nearly a pound of pre-packaged marijuana ready for delivery to customers. He said the quantity is worth between $1,200 and $1,500. In addition, officers confiscated 50 young marijuana plants near a utility building on the Messer property.
The explosive devices were described as primers used to detonate dynamite. When these were discovered and considered to be very “unstable,” a bomb technician was summoned from the Summersville State Police detachment to examine the explosives and decide on their destruction.
“We also confiscated an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and a motorcycle found on the Messer property,” Lt. Rockel reported. In addition, officers confiscated drug paraphernalia including five-gallon buckets, fertilizer materials and other items used in the cultivation of marijuana Rockel said it was a difficult task traveling to and from the secluded Messer property. The Jeep carrying the officers nearly overturned at one point and the most hazardous part of the journey was traveling upstream in a waterfall.