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25 charged, 22 arrested in major drug ring

An investigation by the Mon Metro Drug Task Force resulted in a major drug bust leading to drug trafficking charges against 25 individuals from Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and West Virginia. Investigators are still searching for three of the 25 — all others have been taken into custody. 

On Wednesday, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced the indictment and arrest of 22 people in a coordinated effort across the four states. An indictment is merely an allegation, and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.   

According to court documents, Rodney Johnson, 46, of Philadelphia, was the leader of a group that was supplying significant quantities of illicit drugs to Monongalia County including fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine. The organization’s members allegedly lived and stored drugs in apartments in Morgantown. 

The 81-page, 79-count indictment states two of these locations: A residence at 27 Fire Department Road, near the Cool Springs VFD on Kingwood Pike and apartment 315 at The Domain, located behind University Town Centre.  

Social media posts from local residents reported also seeing law enforcement agents at a location on Pennsylvania Avenue in Morgantown and on W.Va. 7 in Dellslow early Tuesday morning. The Dominion Post reached out to the task force to confirm these locations but did not receive a response in time for this report. 

“The indictment and subsequent arrests have led to the dismantling of a sophisticated operation that was causing large quantities of dangerous drugs to be distributed in our region,” Ihlenfeld said. “The work of our agents and prosecutors in this matter has made our communities safer and shows the reach that we have when it comes to the disruption of drug trafficking.” 

Of the 25 charged, 12 are listed as residents of West Virginia. These individuals include William Durnal, 59, of Elkins; Jason Davis, 34, of Belington; Stephanie Miller, 46, of Charleston; Jennifer Clapper, 36, of Morgantown; Jeffrey Marsh, 45, of Morgantown; Sandra Tennant, 54, of Morgantown; Bobbie Jo Phillips, 37, of Morgantown; Jamie Purtee, 32, of Morgantown; Joshua Noel, 41, of Elkins; Olivia Gibson, 21, of Ona; Steven Sharps, 43, of Kingwood; and Jordan Spadafore, 32, of Morgantown. 

Ten of those charged are Pennsylvania residents — seven from Philadelphia. Two individuals from Michigan and one from New Jersey were also charged with the group. 

Investigators are still searching for the groups’ alleged leader Johnson, as well as Ryan Shaw, 27, and Rasheab Bradsher, 47, both of Philadelphia. 

“I want to highlight the collective efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to dismantle a criminal enterprise who was intent on flooding our communities with this poison,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Kevin Rojek in a press release. “An investigation of this size requires partnership and teamwork. The result of this operation is a testament to the power of partnership and the FBI’s commitment to curb violence in our communities.” 

The Mon Metro Drug Task Force consists of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the West Virginia State Police, the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office, the Monongalia County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Morgantown Police Department, the WVU Police Department, the Granville Police Department, and the Star City Police Department. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zelda Wesley is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. 

TWEET @DominionPostWV