UPDATE | 11 facing charges in drug-trafficking investigation

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JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 7/12/19 @ 5:30 p.m.
Around 11.5 pounds of meth was trafficked into Jackson County, West Virginia, from Columbus, Ohio, during an almost three-month period, according to investigators.

Deputies arrested Micah Kieffer in connection with a drug trafficking case in Jackson County, West Virginia.

The Jackson County Sheriff's office says 11 people were arrested in connection to the drug pipeline. Some of those arrests were made in Columbus, while others were arrested during a warrant sweep in Jackson County Friday.

Deputies say members of the group brought the meth into West Virginia and distributed it to people living in Jackson County.

The following people are facing charges:

  • Brandy Hodge -- Federal charge out of Columbus
  • John Mason -- Federal charge
  • Amanda Cranfield -- Bringing meth into the state, conspiracy to deliver meth (greater than 50 grams)
  • Eddie Withrow -- Bringing meth into the state, conspiracy to deliver meth (greater than 50 grams)
  • Micah Kieffer -- Bringing meth into the state, conspiracy to deliver meth (greater than 50 grams)
  • Andy Casto -- Conspiracy to deliver heroin
  • Andrew Stanly -- Conspiracy to deliver heroin
  • Medalyen Sayre -- Conspiracy to deliver meth
  • Corey Farmer -- Conspiracy to deliver heroin
  • Jamie Garnes -- Conspiracy to deliver meth

Deputies say the investigation was a joint effort between the sheriff's office, officials in Columbus, Ohio, and the DEA.

According to investigators, the pipeline was part of an interstate trafficking case.

According to Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger, those involved seemed to be targeting the Ripley/Fairplain area.

"It started with information from an unrelated drug investigation and just kind of spiraled from there and blossomed into this much larger scale where you could actually pinpoint and involve other individuals and other agencies from surrounding states," Mellinger said.

Deputies say the drugs had a street value of more than $500,000.

"When you are looking at 11.5 pounds over a short period of time, that is a very influential amount of weight coming into this community," Mellinger said. "Typically in these types of investigations, you are only able to get your local distributors or the mules who are bringing it and transporting it into the state. Very rarely do you have the opportunity to work it in conjunction with other agencies and really open up Pandora's box and be able to get both the local pushers and the mules transporting it into your communities."

Several of the people arrested Friday were brought in to be arraigned on their charges.

"What you are looking at is people have come from this Columbus, Ohio area and basically set up shop," Mellinger said. "It is basically an enterprise system. We have our own set of problems here, We don't really need other problems injected from other communities in other states. When they come in and set up shop, that is exactly what they are doing. They are amplifying our existing problems and they're introducing new ones."



ORIGINAL STORY 7/12/19
Ten people are facing charges after a warrant sweep in Jackson County, West Virginia Friday.

Deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office rounded up suspects Friday with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger tells WSAZ this sweep is connected to an interstate drug trafficking case. Investigators say there is a pipeline of drugs from Columbus, Ohio to Ripley, West Virginia.

Over about two and a half months, deputies say the group trafficked in more than 11 pounds of meth.

The following people are facing charges:


    Brandy Hodge -- Federal charge out of Columbus
    John Mason -- Federal charge
    Amanda Cranfield -- Bringing meth into the state, conspiracy to deliver meth (greater than 50 grams)
    Eddie Withrow -- Bringing meth into the state, conspiracy to deliver meth (greater than 50 grams)
    Micah Kieffer -- Bringing meth into the state, conspiracy to deliver meth (greater than 50 grams)
    Andy Casto -- Conspiracy to deliver heroin
    Andrew Stanly -- Conspiracy to deliver heroin
    Medalyen Sayre -- Conspiracy to deliver meth
    Corey Farmer -- Conspiracy to deliver heroin
    Jamie Garnes -- Conspiracy to deliver meth