Record meth seizure in Barnesville

Photo Provided Drugs, instruments and cash seized during a traffic stop in Bellaire are shown. Ricky Runner Jr., who allegedly drove the vehicle the items were reportedly seized from, faces drug related charges. This was one of several stops in Bellaire and Barnesville.

BELMONT COUNTY — Several law enforcement agencies over the last week have reported major drug arrests, including what Barnesville police have called the largest seizure of methamphetamine in their history.

Barnesville Police Chief Rocky Sirianni reported a vehicle stop and search by the department’s K-9 officer, Dixie, yielded a large quantity of drugs.

“Early Sunday morning, one of the officers initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle for a moving violation and he noticed some indicators of possible narcotics activity. The K-9 was called in and she alerted on the vehicle and they searched and seized more than 60 grams of methamphetamine, more than a gram of heroin, a handgun, some other paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana,” Sirianni said, adding that more than $800 in cash also was seized.

“Some pretty serious charges come along with that,” he said.

Derrick Wilkin, 41, of Newcomerstown and Kelsey Chambers, 26, of Barnesville, are both facing charges.


Wilkin is charged with two counts of trafficking in drugs, a first- and third-degree felony, three counts of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, and driving under suspension.

Chambers is charged with two counts of trafficking in drugs, a first- and third-degree felony, and 2 counts of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony.

Both are also charged with carrying a concealed weapon and with possession of drug paraphernalia.

They are currently being held in jail in lieu of bond.

“As far as methamphetamine goes, this is by far the largest seizure our agency has had,” Sirianni said. “In the past 3 to 4 years, we’ve seen a pretty large spike of methamphetamine. That goes statewide too.”


Meanwhile, Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas reported 2 drug cases in recent days. At 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 a deputy was on routine patrol in Bellaire and observed a vehicle driving in the wrong lane. The deputy executed a traffic stop, and was joined by K-9 officer Xyrem with the sheriff’s department and Bellaire police. The stop resulted in the arrest of Benjamin Dyer, 33, of Tiltonsville.

“He had a suspended license. They found drug abuse instruments and items, and also a crystal-like substance believe possibly to be crystal meth,” Lucas said.

Dyer was charged with 2 counts of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, possession of drug abuse instruments and driving under suspension, both misdemeanors. Lucas said Dyer was on probation at the time.

Lucas reported a second arrest was made Feb. 9 in Bellaire, when a vehicle passed a deputy on patrol.

“He noticed the driver and knew that he did not have a valid driver’s license. He was stopped,” Lucas said, adding that Bellaire police likewise assisted. “They had an overwhelming, strong odor of marijuana.”

Lucas said a search yielded marijuana hidden under the gear shift knob.

“In searching the vehicle, they found another black bag in the trunk,” Lucas said, adding that suspected drugs were found in the bag, and 3 pipes, a digital scale and a marijuana grinder was also found in a man’s boot.

“It was clear baggies with a crystal-liked substance believed to be crystal meth, and then a small vial containing a grey-brown (substance) they believe is heroin. All this will be forwarded to the lab for identification,” he said, adding that 17.81 grams of a crystallized substance suspected of being methamphetamine was found.

Ricky Runner Jr., 32, of Martins Ferry is charged with two counts of possession of drugs, one felony count and one misdemeanor, one count of trafficking in drugs, a first-degree felony, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, possession of drug abuse instruments, a second-degree misdemeanor, and driving under suspension, a first-degree misdemeanor. He is being held on bond.

Lucas commended the attentiveness of law enforcement.

“Our guys do a thorough job of recovering drugs, plus the occupants are being charged, arrested, and taken to jail.”