Sheriff deputies honing in on trash dumping, find mail with addresses throughout most recent pile

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 11:51 PM EDT
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MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - After a massive dump pile was found in Mingo County on Wednesday, deputies are tracking down who is responsible.

“(It’s) probably the largest (dump) to date that we found in the area,” said Sheriff Joe Smith.

Smith said he received a complaint earlier in the week about the massive dump site at an abandoned mining property along Jennies Creek Road in the Kermit area. He said when deputies went to check it out, they found several names with addresses on mail throughout the waste. Addresses ranged from West Virginia to Kentucky, as the site borders the Wayne County and Martin County, Kentucky line.

“That’s the issue with this dump site. It seems this is the largest we’ve found to date, plus you’ve got people from three separate counties, two states that’s bringing their trash and dumping there,” Smith said.

The sheriff said they are having issues with litter countywide but nothing compares to the pile on the mining property. Deputies say since the had to cut litter enforcement officers a few years ago due to the county budget, the trash has become more and more of an issue.

“it’s discouraging because, (we had) probably 70 or 80 bags of trash that the community got together this Saturday at Marrowbone and picked up along the roadside,” Smith told WSAZ. “You know, we think we’re doing good and this week we get this call.”

The trash pile consists of several tires, drywall, lumber, furniture and TVs.

“It’s just crazy, the size of this dumpsite was unreal.”

Smith said deputies were able to track down people through the mailing addresses and names they’ve found throughout the garbage. He said many people were able to show proof that they had paid someone to dispose of their trash.

“if you pay somebody to haul your trash off, make sure they bring you back paperwork, your recipe of where they actually took your trash,” he said. “Trash pickup is cheap, I think it’s $60 for three months, everybody needs to take advantage of that. Much cheaper than paying a citation that could be $300, $400, $500.”

The sheriff said they are working with the county commission as well as people throughout the community to get ahold of the ones responsible and clean up their home.

“If we want to survive, (if) you want your kids to grow up in Mingo County, then we got to take care of Mingo County. Whether its the Hatfield-McCoy trails or the trails coming through we have to do something to (encourage) people to come to Mingo County to spend money,” Smith said. “If you come here one time from (another state) and expect to ride the beautiful hills of West Virginia and you roll up on a dump like that, I mean, you’re probably not going to come back to Mingo County next time.”

He said on top of driving away money and business to the county, the trash is also taking away their focus from a bigger issue.

“Drugs are our number one priority, we fight drugs on a daily basis here in Mingo County, so the time that people are taking away from the drug problem is just hurting us in that aspect also,” the sheriff said.

He said no arrests have been made so far, but they have issued several citations.

Anyone with information about the dumping is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office.

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