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Barboursville arrest leads to federal drug charge

Jan. 18, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- A man with ties to Detroit will face federal prosecution after a recent investigation seized nearly $3,000 worth of heroin in the village of Barboursville.

Authorities filed a federal complaint Wednesday against Ralph Oliver Mayes Jr., 37, of Dearborn Heights, Mich. It charges that he possessed heroin with an intent to distribute.

The case stems from a tip about drug activity Jan. 9 in the 700 block of Main Street. Investigators with the Barboursville Police Department and the FBI's Huntington Violent Crime Drug Task Force had developed a cooperating witness and confronted Mayes as he exited an apartment building with another suspect in that block, the complaint's affidavit states.

Authorities then frisked Mayes and found 33 individually wrapped bags of heroin, according to the affidavit. A companion incident report at the Barboursville Police Department measured the drug's weight at 16.5 grams and its worth at $2,970.

Investigators also seized an undisclosed drug valued at $90, along with $903 cash, drug paraphernalia and a Michigan identification card, according to the affidavit and incident report.

Barboursville Police Chief Mike Coffey described it as a large quantity of heroin for his village, but not unheard of, and said residents need to take notice. He explained some drug dealers will target safe communities thinking their activity will go undetected. He also mentioned the village's proximity to Huntington, Interstate 64, U.S. 60 and several nearby hotels.

"We're a bedroom community," he said. "Thank goodness we don't have the amount of crime that Huntington has right now, but for people to say 'it's not here' would be putting their head in the sand."

Authorities immediately arrested Mayes and the other man who joined him in exiting the complex, Joshua E. Ruckman of Charleston, the incident report states. Both were detained on state charges Jan. 10 and remained at the facility early Thursday, according to jail records.

Ruckman's state charge, felony delivery of a controlled substance, dates back to an April 19, 2012, offense, the incident report states.

Mayes was initially detained on state charges of felony drug possession and misdemeanor obstruction. He appeared Thursday afternoon before a federal magistrate and was transferred to the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Ky.

Coffey urged anyone with information about suspected drug or criminal activity in Barboursville to call officers at 304-736-8994 or simply dial 911.

Follow Curtis Johnson via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD and http://facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD

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