Moonshine and marijuana bust in McDowell County - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Second suspect in moonshine case arrested

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE:

Deputies with the McDowell County Sheriff's Office announced on Thursday that a second suspect in an investigation into a moonshine still found in the Paynesville has been arrested.

According to a release from the Sheriff's Department Lewis Lester turned himself in at around d 2:30 p.m.  He is charges with four counts of Delivery of a Controlled Substance and one count of Conspiracy. 

Lester was arraigned in front of Magistrate Steve Cox.  His bond is set at $75,000.  Lester is being held at the McDowell County Holding Unit until he can be taken to the Southwestern Regional Jail.


Marijuana and a moonshine still were found when deputies served a search warrant in McDowell County.

Police found it around 5 p.m. on August 15th. The warrant was served in the Paynesville area at a house owned by Lewis Lester.

Police found 50 marijuana plants averaging 15 feet tall growing next to a moonshine still that was making moonshine.

More of the illegal liquor was found hidden under hay bales in a barn. Prescription drugs and a gun were also taken.

Deputies arrested Melissa Lester. She's the daughter of Lewis.

She's charged with one count of operating a Moonshine still, one count of cultivation of marijuana, 5 counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy.

Residents shared with 59News on Wednesday if they see drugs as a serious issue in their area.The McDowell County Sheriff told us why you sending in anonymous tips and information is so crucial to them cracking down on crime and making arrests.

"We appreciate everyone that is concerned, and who wants to take our county back. If you give us your information, we will work on it," Sheriff Martin West.

West reminds the public that no matter how widespread drugs are, it's still against the law.

"It's a big problem. People think they can make easy money, a lot of them grow it for themselves. It's still illegal, according to West Virginia statutes," West added.

Residents of McDowell county told 59News that moonshine and marijuana is a huge problem here, but they also tell me it's prevalent all across the state.

"It's just normal, you hear it all the time. It's not always on the news but you hear people around town talking about it. It's nothing unusual for us," Ashley Justice said.

Another local believes enforcement should target harder crimes.

"It is a big problem in Southern West Virginia. That's crimes against property, I'm concerned about crimes against people such as murders and armed robberies," Kevin Wade told us.

A resident gave praises to the Sheriff for his dedication to drug and alcohol busts.

"They are really trying to clean it up though. Our new sheriff is really trying. He has made plenty of busts since he's been a sheriff," said Beatrice Collins.

Lewis Lester is still wanted on 4 counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy.

If you have any information of Lester's whereabouts, you're urged to call the McDowell County Sheriff's Department at (304) 436-8522.