WILEY FORD - What started out as an investigation into a suspicious vehicle in Heavener Estates near Wiley Ford Sunday turned into a drug bust which netted approximately $150,000 worth of marijuana, marijuana derivatives, paraphernalia, cash and weapons.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
WILEY FORD - What started out as an investigation into a suspicious vehicle in Heavener Estates near Wiley Ford Sunday turned into a drug bust which netted approximately $150,000 worth of marijuana, marijuana derivatives, paraphernalia, cash and weapons.
According to the Mineral County Sheriff’s Department, the deputy on duty Sunday - who also happens to be part of the Potomac Highlands Drug and Violent Crime Task Force -responded to a call from a concerned citizen about a suspicious vehicle in the residential area of Heavener Estates. At the time of the call, it was reported that one of the male occupants was out of the vehicle and trespassing on private property.
When the deputy arrived, however, the vehicle had left the development and was last seen traveling south on Route 28.
The deputy located the vehicle and stopped it, identifying the occupants as Steven Douglas Miller, 19, Thomas Edward Wright, 29, and Korinia Jay/Delawder, no age given.
The deputy was able to determine none of the three occupants possessed a valid driver’s license. He also detected a strong odor of marijuana and therefore conducted a search of the vehicle.
Over 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana was recovered from the vehicle, along with other marijuana by-products.
The three occupants were placed under arrest and charged with possession with intent to distribute.
Upon further investigation by the deputy, a suspected supplier of the marijuana was identified. The deputy applied for and was granted a search warrant for a residence in Heavener Estates, and executed the warrant with the assistant of additional deputies from the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office and the West Virginia State Police.
At the residence, the officers located over 20 pounds of marijuana, as well as other marijuana by-products consistent with the items previously recovered from the vehicle.
During the search of the residence, the targeted suspect, Neal Fleming Wright, 34, attempted to escape custody. Deputies were able to bring him back into custody, however, following a brief pursuit and search.
Both Wright and a second suspect, Sarah Mandania Diehl, 29, were charged with possession with intent to distribute. Neal Wright received additional charges for attempted escape and Diehl received additional charges when it was discovered she was wanted in Allegany County for failure to appear.
Miller, Thomas Wright, Neal Wright and Sarah Diehl are currently incarcerated in the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail in lieu of bond.
According to the sheriff’s department, the suspects grew up in the area, but are not currently residents of Mineral County.
Among the items confiscated by the deputies were multiple large bags of marijuana, vapes with suspected THC oil, numerous small and large containers of marijuana extract known on the street as “honey” or “butter,” and other paraphernalia, cash and weapons.
The sheriff’s department said the small 1-gram size containers of marijuana oil would bring an estimated $60-$80 on the street, “and there’s probably 35 of them” in the evidence that was confiscated.
Two larger jars of the more potent “honey” were estimated at $100 a gram, so the deputy estimated, “there’s almost $10,000 just in the two  jars.”
Sheriff Jeremy Taylor said he wants to thank the West Virginia State Police for their assistance, and to also thank the concerned citizens who called in the report.
He also noted that, in this case, the deputy on duty was nearby and could respond to the initial call. If the county could eventually have enough officers to establish law enforcement in each end of the county, additional arrests similar to this would become possible.