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Police: Grafton woman arrested on drug-related charges allegedly agreed to sell undercover officers meth via Facebook messenger

BUCKHANNON – A Taylor County woman was arrested Thursday after allegedly making deals to sell methamphetamine to law enforcement officers who were operating two undercover alias Facebook accounts.

Mandy Knotts, 20, of Grafton, was arrested for possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy and delivery of a controlled substance, all felonies. The charges stem from two separate incidents that allegedly occurred April 16, 2022, and April 28, 2022.

According to criminal complaints in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by Upshur County Sheriff’s deputy Cole Bender, on April 16, Bender and Lt. Marshall Powers attempted to execute a controlled buy on Knotts because Bender had an active warrant on her for alleged possession of fentanyl.

In addition, Patrolman Jacob Garrison with the Buckhannon Police Department had informed sheriff’s deputies that he and other officers “had prior information of [Knotts] delivering controlled substances recently, specifically methamphetamine,” the police report says. As a result, Garrison teamed up with Bender and Powers, and Garrison used an undercover alias on Facebook to contact Knotts regarding the buy.

According to the police report, using the alias account, Garrison told Knotts he had both “cash and wheels,” and Knotts allegedly instructed him to meet her in the parking lot behind the Whistle Stop Café on North Spring Street.

Garrison went in his personal vehicle dressed in street clothes, while Bender and Powers parked out of sight beside the Moose Lodge. Garrison kept Bender on speakerphone and when Garrison identified himself as an officer, they went to the location. According to Garrison, Knotts allegedly had a plastic bag filled with suspected methamphetamine that she reportedly threw during the encounter, according to the file.

Police later recovered the bag. Knotts was placed under arrest for the original warrant involving fentanyl.

At the time of arrest, she was also carrying a purse and a small bag which allegedly contained four different types of bags, “all with varying amounts of suspected methamphetamine,” the complaint says. Also inside the two bags officers allegedly found a half tin container with a bag of white residue; two separate, unused, small plastic bags typically used in the packaging and delivery of controlled substances; a small red digital scale; snort straw; a fake $100 bill; and a cellphone, according to the report.

Then, almost two weeks later on April 28, 2022, officers with the Buckhannon Police Department assisted Bender in executing a drug-related warrant on a male individual. The male had informed officers that he had planned to buy and then resell methamphetamine from Knotts.

After learning this, Garrison and Sgt. Marshall O’Connor with the BPD decided to contact Knotts to set up another controlled buy. Garrison and O’Connor utilized a second Facebook profile to arrange the purchase of “a twenty bag” – or .2 grams of methamphetamine. Knotts agreed to meet them in the back parking lot of the Whistle Stop Café, according to the complaint.

After arriving at the parking lot, officers sent a notification to Knotts telling her that they were in the silver car. O’Connor was the driver/customer while Garrison was sitting in the back seat covered up.

Knotts and a male individual walked up to the undercover vehicle. O’Connor put the window down halfway and the male handed him a bag of methamphetamine. In exchange, O’Connor handed the male subject a $50 bill and both Knotts and the male walked away, the file says.

As they were leaving, O’Connor got out of the car and ordered them to stop. While the male obeyed and was detained, Knotts allegedly began to run, but O’Connor caught her and brought her to the ground. Bender subsequently placed Knotts under arrest and she was transported to the Buckhannon Police Department for questioning.

Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder set bail at $100,000 cash or surety, and Knotts remained incarcerated as of Monday evening.

The penalty for both possession with intent to deliver and felony conspiracy is confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than 15 years, a fine of up to $25,000 or both. Additionally, the penalty for a conviction of delivery of a controlled substance is imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than two nor more than 10 years.

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