UPDATE: Business Owner Busted for Pushing Pills for Sex Indicted By Grand Jury

By: Anna Baxter, Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Anna Baxter, Brooks Jarosz Email

UPDATE 10/26/12 @ 12:15 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The case against a business owner in Jackson County accused of trading pills for sex is moving forward.

A grand jury has indicted Lewis Stephens, 68, of Cottageville, on Possession of a Controlled Substances with Intent to Deliver, Delivery Controlled Substance and Prostitution.

Stephens was charged back in July when Jackson County Sheriff's Deputies say they caught him trying to trade Hydrocodone with a confidential informant for sexual favors.

At the time of his arrest, deputies suspected there were at least a dozen victims.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/3/12 @ 12:30 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A business owner from Jackson County accused of pushing pills for sex was back in court Friday.

Lewis Stephens, 68, of Cottageville, is facing two felonies after deputies say he was trading pills for sex.

Stephens was charged last month after deputies caught him trying to trade hydrocodone with a confidential informant for sexual favors, according to the criminal complaint.

During his preliminary Friday, Stephens waived his right to a hearing.

However, the magistrate did reduce his bond from $150,000 to $25,000. Stephens claims he still can't afford that bond, but if he would post bond he would remain on home confinement and he would have to live somewhere else besides his business location.

Deputies suspect there are at least a dozen victims, according to the complaint. The alleged victim's family attended Friday's hearing and was visibly upset.

According to our news crew at the hearing, Stephens smirked at the camera once he noticed it was recording him.

Stephens owns a farm machinery business.

Stephens case now moves to the grand jury.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A business owner is busted after deputies say he was pushing pills for sex.

Lewis Stephens, 68, of Cottageville, was charged with two felonies Wednesday night after a confidential informant assisted police in catching Stephens in the act, according to investigators.

"It's probably been an ongoing thing for quite some time," Chief Deputy Tony Boggs said. "It makes it actually a little more difficult to complete that type of case based on the trading aspect of it."

Stephens owns JE Stephens Farm Machinery where deputies say he engaged in covert controlled drug purchases. The informant told police that's where she had given Stephens sexual favors more than a dozen times in order to obtain prescription pills.

"It's sad that there's a lot of people addicted right now that will do a lot of things in order to get their pills," Boggs said.

The informant gave deputies specific details of a side computer room of the business where the sex and pill deliveries occurred and that there was a special blue blanket that Stephens kept stored to later lay on the floor of the office for sex, according to the criminal complaint.

Deputies suspect there are more than a dozen victims who performed sexual acts with Stephens.

The informant assisted police Wednesday night in a controlled drug exchange at the boat ramp in Millwood. The informant called Stephens and arranged the meeting and Stephens demanded the informant also bring a friend to join, according to investigators.

A detective posed as the friend from a nearby parking lot chatting with Stephens from a cell phone less than 10 feet from his grey pickup truck.

Deputies then moved in and arrested Stephens finding Hydrocodone tablets and a prescription bottle. Stephens was charged with two felonies including delivery of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver.

"Whether you sell it, you give it away, whatever the case may be, if you supply someone else, it's a felony," Boggs said. "And we'll arrest you."

Investigators quickly issued and executed a search warrant for Stephens' truck and business and found empty pill bottles, condoms and other prescriptions. Deputies executed another search warrant Thursday afternoon at Stephen's home.

Deputies say all of the prescriptions were legitimate.

More charges are pending against Stephens. His family says they are shocked but did not want to comment further Thursday.

In his arraignment, Stephens seemed less concerned about the charges and more concerned with getting out of jail.

"On the bond, I can put up property you say?" Stephens asked the magistrate. "What do we need to do just go get the deeds?"

Both felonies Stephens is facing carry a sentence of one to 15 years behind bars. He's being held on a $150,000 bond.

If you know of anyone that could be another potential victim, contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Department at 304-372-3462.


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