UPDATE 10/22/12 @ 6:15 p.m.
MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – We’re learning more about what led up to an alleged drug dealer in Mingo County to be arrested, released and re-arrested.
According to the magistrate judge, it all comes down to paperwork. Magistrate Dee Sidebottom didn’t find probable cause to grant a search warrant because of a number of discrepancies in that paperwork.
It all centers around Tommy Mounts. He was arrested Friday night on drug and stolen property charges. When Mounts was being arraigned, the search warrant had already been typed and signed by police and that’s supposed to happen in front of a judge. Not only that, but the officer who filled out that paperwork wasn’t before her, therefore she couldn’t ask him any questions.
Magistrate Sidebottom said there was also an improper code on the second charge in the criminal complaint and that’s when the charges against him were dismissed.
While police were working on re-filing those charges, Mounts allegedly held a knife to a woman’s throat at his house. He was arrested again, this time for domestic battery, domestic assault and brandishing.
A circuit judge ordered Chief Magistrate Dallas Toller to look over the search warrant and complaint on the original charges and he did find probable cause.
“No disrespect for Magistrate Sidebottom, I was a magistrate for almost ten years and I read the complaint and I told them I would have signed it. But maybe she has her reasons,” said Eugene Crum, Mingo County Special Investigator.
"It was an improper search warrant. There is no way I'm going to sign my name on an improper search warrant and it was improperly filed,” said Magistrate Dee Sidebottom. “What has happened here is very unprofessional and I made a judicial decision based on the facts and the evidence that was presented to me."
Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks also released a statement. “I also commend Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler for going above and beyond the call of duty to prevent a grave injustice to the citizens of Baisden and Mingo County. Chief Magistrate Toler fairly, impartially and correctly authorized the search warrant and issued the warrants of arrest.
Mounts was arraigned, Monday, on transferring and receiving stolen property charges in regards to the number of alleged stolen items found on his property including nearly 100 guns. He remains behind bars.
In a joint effort, police in Mingo County arrested a man after they say he was selling prescription drugs to an informant on his porch.
Officers arrested Tommy Mounts, 66, at him home on Gilbert Creek Road, just outside of the town of Gilbert.
"I know nothing about this stuff," suspect Tommy Mounts said. "I'm an old man but I don't know nothing about this stuff or whatever."
The bust led to a major search and seizure as officers found more than 75 shotguns, 20 handguns, 200 knives, ammo, stolen vehicles, and ATV and lawn equipment. Of those guns, police say more than 20 were stolen. That's in addition to $5,000 worth of prescription pills and thousands in cash.
"He's dangerous," investigator Eugene Crum said. "He might be an elderly man but evidently he's dangerous and if he's doing this kind of stuff -- we need him off the streets."
The magistrate who was supposed to arraign Mounts Friday night found a problem with the search warrant or the criminal complaint. The magistrate dismissed the charges and we are still trying to find out why.
However, as police were working to re-file the charges, a call came in on 911 about a disturbance at Mount's home.
WSAZ.com was along for the ride as police responded. Officers say he was trying to hold a woman at knifepoint. Mounts was charged with domestic battery.
"I never laid my hands on that girl, no way," suspect Tommy Mounts said. "She's lying on me -- trying to get me set up."
Mounts says he can't read and write. Police plan on filing more charges for the drugs, guns and stolen property on Monday.
Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.
The bust happened late Friday night at a home in Baisden, West Virginia. That's just outside the city limits of Gilbert.
Eugene Crum, with the Mingo County Prosecutor's Office, tells WSAZ.com the investigation started when an informant bought Roxycodone from the suspect on the porch of the home. Once the purchase was made, investigators executed a search warrant and recovered the money and drugs, according to Crum.
Mr. Crum also says that once investigators got inside the house they found 96 guns and a large amount of drugs, including Oxycontin and Hydrocodone.
Since then, investigators have confirmed at least 21 of the guns have been reported stolen from all over the country, including Washington State, according to Crum. Deputies are still trying to figure out if any of the other guns were stolen.
A man was arrested and taken to Mingo County Magistrate Court to be arraigned on the charges. However, Crum tells WSAZ.com the charges were dismissed but it's still unclear why.
Crum says investigators plan to refile the charges on Monday when another magistrate is on duty.
WSAZ.com called the magistrate who dismissed the charges for a statement, but our calls were not answered.
The Mingo County Sheriff's Department, Gilbert City Police and the Mingo County Prosecutor's Office are working together to investigate this case.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updates.
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