HEPZIBAH, W.Va. – Two men have been charged after officers found drugs during a traffic stop in Harrison County.
On Friday, a Harrison County sheriff’s deputy saw a blue Hyundai Tiburon with a temporary West Virginia license plate on U.S. Route 19 south in Hepzibah in Harrison County. According to the complaint, the vehicle did not have an inspection sticker on the front windshield, and the window tint appeared to be too dark and below the AS-1 line on the front windshield.
The officer contacted the driver and passenger from the passenger side window. As he stated who he was and the reason for the stop, the driver interrupted him and said that he knew the vehicle was missing an inspection sticker.
The driver did not have his license, but did have the registration and insurance cards for the vehicle and provided his name and birth date for records checks, according to the complaint. Upon being asked by the officer, the passenger provided his WV driver’s license that identified him as Paul Dennison, 40 of Wallace. The driver was identified as Stephen Bunnell, of Lumberport.
The officer observed Bunnell’s chest “to be pulsing as if he had an elevated heart rate,” and saw “a clear syringe plunger cap” in the center console. Upon being asked about firearms in the vehicle, the men said that there was a .22 AR-style rifle in the trunk of the vehicle, said the complaint.
While conducting record checks on the men, deputies were alerted that Bunnell is wanted in Pennsylvania for a “dangerous drug offense” and that both occupants had criminal histories and multiple drug charges and convictions.
After additional deputies arrived, a free air sniff was conducted by a K9 and a positive indication of drugs was given.
Inside the vehicle, deputies found a plastic container containing “large chunks of suspected crystal methamphetamine,” according to the complaint. They also located several small plastic cylindrical containers commonly used to package illegal drugs inside a backpack in the passenger compartment. Dennison’s wallet was also found to contain large sums of cash. The deputy also located “a power tool battery that had been hollowed out” that was being used as a concealment container; inside the container, the officers found a functional digital scale, three rubber containers commonly used to hold drugs, aluminum foils strips commonly used to smoke illegal drugs and wrapping papers.
Other items that officers found in the vehicle include a “used, loaded syringe,” and a brown zippered bag containing THC edibles, THC wax, smoking devices and a functional and dirty digital scale, and burnt aluminum foil strips. The officers also located the .22 rifle in the trunk of the car and a loaded magazine for the rifle in the front center console, said the complaint. As an illegal drug user, Stephen Bunnell is prohibited from possessing a firearm in West Virginia, the complaint went on to say.
Bunnell has been charged with conspiracy. Paul Dennison has been charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and conspiracy and is being held at the North Central Regional Jail.