Cops and Courts

Preston County law enforcement find drugs during traffic stop for littering

Officers with the Preston County Sheriff’s Department found drugs and large amounts of cash on Saturday after searching the vehicle of a man originally pulled over for littering. 

Sgt. S.R. Mitter with Preston County Sheriff’s Department stated while patrolling the area of Market Street and Mitter Drive near Newburg, she saw two pieces of white paper being thrown out of the driver’s side window of a vehicle in front of her before that vehicle began drifting toward the left side of the road. 

According to a criminal complaint, the vehicle had a temporary registration number, which did not come back when Mitter ran a check of the number. 

The complaint also states the driver, later identified as Joshua L. Casteel, 30, of Morristown, Tenn., pulled over to the left side of the road and when the car stopped, he stepped out of the car, but it was still in drive. He then got back in the car to stop it. 

Mitter said when she approached the car, the driver had a container of wet wipes in his hand. Mitter realized the items thrown from the car were wet wipes and told Casteel he had been pulled over for littering. 

While Mitter was collecting the driver’s license, insurance and registration information, Lt. Mitter arrived on scene and approached the vehicle on the passenger’s side. According to the complaint, the lieutenant asked Casteel about some plastic that could be seen sticking out of his right pants pocket. 

Casteel then pulled some of the plastic from his pocket, but ripped it leaving more in his pocket. When he did that, Sgt. Mitter saw a red bag inside the plastic. She ordered Casteel to give her the remaining plastic, which held two red baggies of a white powdery substance. Casteel allegedly admitted it was drugs. 

After removing Casteel from the vehicle for further investigation, Lt. Mitter searched Casteel and found a large amount of cash, all $100 bills, totaling $4,400. In Casteel’s wallet they found an additional $20, an empty green baggie and 12 preloaded bank cards. 

Sgt. Mitter stated in the complaint that large amounts of cash, empty baggies and preloaded bank cards are a sign of illegal drug distribution. 

Lt. Mitter, Deputy Marley and State Trooper Wilfong assisted the sergeant by searching Casteel’s vehicle. Inside, they found a handheld scanner, which can be used to listen to law enforcement radio traffic to find police locations, along with a roll of plastic wrap similar to what was found in Casteel’s pocket. 

According to the complaint, when Sgt. Mitter ran the vehicle identification number on Casteel’s vehicle it did not come back from any of the 50 states. 

Advised of his Miranda Rights, Casteel allegedly told Sgt. Mitter he was in Newburg visiting a friend from school. When asked about the vehicle, he directed the officer to the paperwork in the glovebox, which showed the vehicle had been purchased on Sept. 4 in Anmoore.  

Casteel allegedly claimed the cash found in his pocket was left over from purchasing the car and the drugs were methamphetamine for personal use, claiming there were only 3 grams. 

The drugs were tested and identified as fentanyl and amphetamine. The total weight of the drugs was found to be 21.96 grams. 

This is not the first time Casteel has faced drug charges in the area. In November 2021, Casteel was arrested by Westover Police and charged with three counts possession of a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty in Monongalia County Magistrate Court to misdemeanor possession and was sentenced to six months in jail. 

He is being charged in Preston County with possession with intent to deliver controlled substances. Bond was set at $150,000. He is currently in custody at Tygart Valley Regional Jail.