NEWELL - The arrest of three Newell men on felony drug charges on Wednesday is one sign that illegal drug activity in Hancock County is increasing, Sheriff Mike White said.
Members of the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force and the Hancock County Special Reaction Team raided the home at 320 Harker Ave., where they found Chad A. Wright, 29, and Joseph K. Jolly, 26. A third resident, Shane "Poodle" Wright, 27, turned himself in to authorities on Thursday morning, White said.
Officers recovered about a pound of marijuana and a "large amount" of heroin and pills, White said, declining to specify how much until test results come back. "I can tell you they got quite a bit," he said.
A "large amount" of cash also was seized from one of two safes located in a back bedroom, he said.
White said all three men are drug dealers.
Chad Wright was arrested for possession of heroin with intent to deliver and conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to deliver. Jolly was charged with conspiracy to possess heroin and marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of heroin with intent to deliver. Shane Wright faces charges of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to deliver.
Chad Wright and Jolly were taken to the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville. Shane Wright is out on bond, White said.
White said sheriff's deputies were tipped off to increased drug activity in the area earlier this year and passed the information on to the drug task force, which comprises officers from the Hancock and Brook County sheriff's departments, the Weirton Police Department, the Hancock and Brooke County prosecutor's offices, the West Virginia State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
White said Hancock County recently was designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the federal government, which means the county will receive more money and more manpower to fight drug crime.
White said drug overdose deaths also are on the rise in Hancock County.