WILLIAMSON – The West Virginia State Police (WVSP) are looking for Sandra Prater of the Delbarton area in connection with drug trafficking in southern West Virginia.
On Wednesday the WVSP made the first of what will likely be many drug arrests in the region.
Troopers brought into custody Ronnie Campbell, 40, of the Delbarton-Ragland area and charged him with “conspiracy to commit distribution.”
They now have a BOLO (Be on the lookout) for Prater, who is allegedly one of the ring leaders of a huge illegal drug operation in southern West Virginia.
Prater allegedly financed out of state trips to bring back prescription pills to sell on the streets and up the hollows of Mingo County and surrounding counties.
“They’ve been doing this for several years now,” one Trooper told the media, “She (Prater) would finance multiple individuals to go out of the state to bring back drugs to sell.”
Prater’s house was the target of the raid on Wednesday.
The Wednesday arrest came as a result of a recent investigation into the murder of 70-year old Roland Stafford of Taylorville. Although Campbell and Prater are not connected to the murder, during that investigation the WVSP uncovered a severe drug problem in Mingo County, according to First Sgt. Andy Perdue.
“The individual arrested today is due to ongoing drug work here in Mingo County,” said Sr. Trooper Silas A. Belt after Campbell’s arrest on Wednesday.
The criminal complaint states this on Campbell’s participation in the drug ring, “On January 15, 2015 Trooper M. J. Miller received an audio recorded statement from Ronnie Campbell advising in the winter of 2010 to the current date, he has been traveling to various states to be seen by different physicians. The defendant advised he would give Sandra Prater half of every prescription he would receive from physicians.”
This included such medications as Oxycodone, Dilaudid, Alprazolam and Soma.
The defendant advised the troopers that Prater financed the out of state trips to at least six different physicians, the arrest warrant states.
When asked how important it was for troopers to make these drug arrests, Trooper Belt said, “It’s very important. Mingo County has a lot of good people. This is a joint effort. It takes time and it’s not something that will happen overnight.”
He said the U.S. 119 Drug Task Force is also involved in the drug investigation, as well as the Mingo County Sheriffs Department, Williamson Police Department and detachments in neighboring counties such as Logan, McDowell, Wyoming and Wayne.
“The more community support we have the easier it is,” Trooper Belt said. The WVSP will take anonymous tips when it comes to drug investigations either on their website or by calling one of the detachments.
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Prater they are asked to contact either the Williamson detachment at 304-235-6000, or the Logan detachment at 792-7200.
“We’re coming for them,” Belt said of the ongoing investigation and imminent arrests of others. “They know it.”
“Currently we have numerous suspects and will be obtaining warrants for them,” Belt added.
Troopers say the drug investigation involves multiple states including Virginia, Florida, Michigan and Ohio.
Troopers say the types of drugs include heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, marijuana, synthetic marijuana and prescription pills.
(Kyle Lovern is the News and Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)