By Rachel Dove
KERMIT - After months of undercover investigation by law enforcement officers, arrest warrants were issued for several individuals who were connected to a game room in Kermit.
Shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday, officers with the U.S. 119 Drug Task Force, the West Virginia State Police and the Kermit Police Department swarmed the K&S Gameroom beside of the UMWA Hall in Kermit.
Four people were placed under arrest inside the business, while a female involved in the sale of drugs was taken into custody in an apartment located above the game room. A sixth defendant was arrested near the gameroom a little later in the evening, and the final two on the officers’ list turned themselves inThursday morning to the state police Williamson detachment.
According to officers with the U.S. 119 Drug Task Force, they were contacted in 2013 by the owners of the building that houses the game room and the apartments, Mingo County Sheriff James Smith and his chief field deputy, Joe Smith. The two men had become aware of alleged drug activity in the game room, and asked the member of their department who serves on the task force to conduct an investigation, pledging their support to help eliminate the problem. After involving Kermit Police Chief Ernie Williams in what was dubbed “Operation Game Stop,” the officers began the investigation that included countless hours of investigation.
One of the officers supervising this investigation for the drug task force (who cannot be identified by name due to the nature of the job) told the Daily News that without the cooperation of the sheriff and chief deputy, this investigation may not have ended in the manner that it did.
“The sheriff and chief deputy played instrumental roles in these arrests,” said the task force officer. “They came to us as soon as they became aware of the drug activity and took a substantial financial loss due to allowing the tenants to stay in the location even though they were not meeting the obligations of their rental agreements. If the sheriff would have evicted them, this investigation would have ceased and we would have had to start from scratch.”
“We can’t thank them enough for their cooperation and patience,” the task force officer said. “Of course we know that both of these men are passionate about taking drugs off the street and would have done whatever it took to help us do just that.”
“We also want to say a special thanks to Chief Chambers for all of his help,” the officer said. “He had eyes and ears on this place each and every day, and provided tremendous assistance in this case.”
Those arrested during this investigation include Steven Marcum, 43, of Inez, Ky.,who was the manager of the game room (three counts of delivery of Oxycodone); Brett Waller, 28, of Kermit (one count of delivery of Oxycodone); Timothy Stacy, 42, (one count of delivery of Oxycodone); Mike Muncy, 33, of Crum (one count of delivery of Oxycodone); Tammy Pertree, 50, of Kermit (three counts of delivery of marijuana); and Johnny Jude, 22, of Pilgrim, Ky. (one count of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit). The two men who turned themselves in Thursday were identified as Josh Wilkerson, 30, of Nitro, and Scotty Meade, 39, of Kermit, who were each charged with one count of delivery of Oxycodone.
The officers also discovered that the game room was being utilized for illegal gambling activity, as well as a location for the sale of drugs.
All defendants were arraigned in Mingo County Magistrate Court and were remanded to the custody of the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden. “Operation Game Stop” is an ongoing investigation and could result in further arrests.
If you are aware of illegal drug activity in your community, you are asked to contact your local law enforcement agency. Your information will be treated confidentially and you need not provide your name.
The number for the state police is 304-235-6000 and the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at 304-235-0300.