Law Enforcement Explains How Drug Related Crimes are Investigate - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Law Enforcement Explains How Drug Related Crimes are Investigated Following Quadruple Murder

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CLARKSBURG -

Prior to last week, 743 Locust Avenue meant nothing to most people, but after a drug related and violent crime took the lives of four people, the town started talking and the community started asking questions.

"How many people have to die, how many families are ruined, how many murders in the street? I don't understand," said Kristy Cunningham, a resident of Locust Avenue.

The Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force is taking some heat for that very concern.

"The officers are going to have to actually make a buy from an individual or individuals living at that property, or have something to confirm that that information is accurate," said John Walker, chairman of the Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

That house was a target of a drug investigation earlier this year. But after investigators made a controlled buy in January, the case failed to move forward.

"The quality or the specifications required to proceed with a prosecution wasn't to the quality that they could. Most cases, it takes more than one buy to be able to prosecute," Walker said.

Six months after that investigation came to a halt, four people were murdered in the street.

"I really don't understand the legality of that. If I get pulled over for speeding, I'm immediately ticketed and fined," Cunningham said.

Walker said it could take 18 months for an investigation to come full circle.

"If you have to develop someone that can get in with the person they are trying to buy the drugs from, that usually takes some time," Walker said.

Walker said it takes time for the force to build a relationship with an informant, and just as long for an informant to build trust with a subject of investigations.

Walker said the work of an informant is dangerous and precise work, because informants can only last for so long in one community.

"Informants aren't good forever. They are limited use," Walker said.

He said one informant can carry out an investigation that brings a whole ring to the courtroom.

"That case can lead to several different defendants," Walker said.

While some may question the timeliness of these investigations, Walker said it should not prevent the community from contacting law enforcement if they have suspicions.

Walker said there are some clues that may indicate drug-related crimes.

"A lot of times people will see vehicles pulling up to their neighbor's house, different vehicles that they never recognized before. These individuals don't live in that area. Usually, it's all times of day or night. They are there for a short period of time, five or 10 minutes before they leave. Or a car pulls up and someone comes out of the house and the car then drives away. Different types of odors that can't be explained," Walker said.