ASHTON — Five people have been arrested by the Mason County Sheriff’s Department after a seizure of drugs and guns at an Ashton residence, which also contained an explosive device.
Sheriff Greg Powers reports four males and one female were arrested over the weekend after an investigation which began with a complaint about cars blocking Keister Rd. in Southern Mason County. Cpt. Terry from the sheriff’s department arrived to investigate this complaint which led to not only five arrests and the removal of a 21-month old infant from a residence at 74 Keister Rd., but the discovery of a “destructive device” in the home of Matthew Gibson, 24, and Krista L. Aeiker, 20, both of Ashton.
In addition to Gibson and Aeiker, also arrested at the scene were Joshua W. Smith, 23, Ashton; John Cornell, 22, Apple Grove; Michael A. Mayes, 47, Ashton. Gibson was charged with possession of a schedule II narcotic, child abuse causing injury, possession of an explosive device and wanton endangerment. Mayes, Smith and Cornell were all charged with possession of a schedule II narcotic and child abuse causing injury. Aeiker was charged with child abuse causing injury.
Following a search of the premises several other items of narcotics, including methamphetamine and heroin, were allegedly located and seized from both inside and outside the home. Drugs were also allegedly recovered from Smith and Cornell. Initial reports were that deputies found an active meth lab at the residence which Powers said was not true.
As for the child abuse charges, they stem from the child allegedly being present inside the home when meth was consumed (smoked) by Gibson, Smith, Cornell and Mayes, according to the sheriff’s department.
In addition, the West Virginia State Police’s Bomb Squad was called to disarm the explosive device in the residence which Powers said appeared to be set as a type of booby trap which acted as a homemade security device. The device was located at the rear of the detached garage.
The suspects appeared before Mason County Magistrate Cheryl Miller Ross over the weekend with Gibson’s bond set at $500,000; bond for Mayes and Cornell both set at $75,000 each; bond for Smith was not available at press time; Aeiker’s bond was set at $100,000. The scheduling of preliminary hearings for these cases is to take place on Tuesday, according to the Mason County Magistrate’s Office. All suspects were transported to the Western Regional Jail where they remained as of press time Monday evening.
In addition to Cpt. Terry, on the scene from the sheriff’s department were Sgt. Varian, Cpl. Powell, Chief Deputy Downing and Powers. Also, the Valley Fire Department assisted in helping direct traffic.
Powers is well aware there is a drug problem in Mason County and as he said on Saturday, the sheriff’s department is there to do its part to help remedy that situation but that can’t be done without the help of residents reporting suspicious activity, like the type reported on Saturday.