Smoking car engine leads to traffic stop, drug arrest

BUCKHANNON – A 26-year-old man was arrested Sunday after police allegedly found him riding in the back of a vehicle with a backpack containing methamphetamine and other materials typically used in the delivery of a controlled substance.

Garrett Wade Riley was arrested for possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, a felony, Sunday, Sept. 8, following a traffic stop initiated by investigating officer deputy Tyler Gordon with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office, on Sunday, Gordon allegedly spotted a blue Jeep Cherokee traveling south on South Florida Street and initiated a traffic stop due to defective equipment and “excessive white smoke coming from the vehicle’s engine compartment.”

The vehicle turned onto Fayette Street and pulled into a residence along the road. The driver allegedly gave Gordon permission to search the vehicle, and the officer proceeded to remove three other occupants from the vehicle.

Riley, the rear-driver’s side passenger, stepped out of the vehicle and allegedly tried to remove a backpack, which Gordon instructed him to leave in the car, according to the report.

Gordon searched the backpack and allegedly found four clear, empty plastic bags and a torch lighter, “commonly connected with the possession and/or delivery of a controlled substance inside the backpack” Riley had been holding, the officer wrote in the report.

Gordon also allegedly found a Sentry brand safe inside the backpack, then reportedly searched Riley’s pockets and subsequently found a crystal-like substance the deputy believed to be methamphetamine as well as the key to the Sentry safe and “several unused clear plastic baggie and two more baggies containing suspected meth.”

The file says the total weight of the separately packaged bags of suspected meth was 6.29 grams.

The penalty for a conviction of possession with intent to deliver is confinement in the state penitentiary for a term of one to 15 years, a fine of up to $15,000 or both.

In other crime news, Dale Wayne DeBarr, 45, of Buckhannon, was recently charged with failure to update sex offender registry, lifetime registrant, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office by investigating officer Trooper J.S. Tonkin with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, Tonkin was informed in June 2019 that DeBarr had not updated his sexual offender registry since October 2018, which was due by the end of June.

The file says a letter notifying DeBarr of the need to update his annual registration had been returned from his last known address with a handwritten note, “Does not live here!” When Tonkin contacted the resident, he was informed DeBarr had not lived there since April 2019, the report says.

The file says lifetime registrants with the WVSP Sex Offender Registry must provide notice of a change in address to the state police 10 days prior to moving.

The penalty for a conviction of failure to update sexual offender registration, lifetime registrant, is imprisonment in the state penitentiary for one to five years in the state penitentiary.

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