Berkeley County purchases additional land for Inwood Park Project

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

The Berkeley County Commission purchased an additional 8.2 acres for the Inwood Park Project.

The future recreation site will now sit on over 31 acres in South Berkeley County across from Musselman High School.

The location is near the original Inwood Park which was established in the late 1800s along the former Cumberland Valley Railroad.

The park was originally a popular spot for picnics, tent revivals, family reunions, dances, and the Inwood Fair.

Berkeley County began work on revitalizing the site in 2021 with the purchase of the first of three parcels of land.

Berkeley County Commission President Jim Whitacre said, “The purchase of this additional acreage reflects the County Commission’s strong commitment to enhancing the quality of life for future generations.”

The Inwood Park Project is expected to receive $1,125,000.00 in federal funding in the 2024 Fiscal Year and has received support from Senators Capito and Manchin.

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Flood warning in effect in West Virginia

lightning

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Opequon Creek near Martinsburg, affecting Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia, and the Cacapon River in Morgan County, W.Va.

Minor flooding is forecast on both waterways, according to the weather statement.

Motorists are reminded not to drive through areas where water is running across the road. Turn around, don’t drown.

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department investigating jewelry theft

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

The Berkeley County, W.Va., Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of jewelry valued at about $85,000 from a residence on Duckwoods Lane in Martinsburg.

The victim reported Thursday that the jewelry has been stolen while she and her daughter were out during the day. Her daughter’s fiance was watching the house, according to a report from the department.

Deputies said the fiance identified himself as Cooper Ross. When they grew suspicious of him and got a fingerprint scanner, he told them he lied about his identity and his real name was Igor Rosensteel. He told the deputies that he had left the residence for about 45 minutes. Deputies later determined the 33-year-old Baltimore man had sold the jewelry at a local pawn shop. They recovered the money and said in the report that they hoped to recover the jewelry Friday.

Deputies also determined that Rosensteel is on federal probation stemming from a 2018 conviction  of impersonating a Secret Service agent in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Multiple arrests in W.Va. drug-enforcement effort

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

The Berkeley County, W.Va., Sheriff’s Department reported more than two dozen arrests in the wake of a multi-agency drug-enforcement effort Thursday and Friday in the county.

The combined effort conducted by members of the department’s SWAT team, the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, West Virginia State Police, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department and Martinsburg City Police Department effort focused on criminal interdiction and enforcement of drug dealers, which also included other various offenders.

The department reported: Information was obtained which lead to a successful search warrant/arrest/drug seizure which also lead to the location of illegal weapons. The BCSD SWAT Team was utilized for this high risk search warrant. The Berkeley County Transportation Division, led by Chief Court Marshal Mike Laing, assisted greatly in the processing and transportation of persons arrested throughout this operation.

Stats:
Traffic Stops – 75
Vehicle Searches – 9
Felony Arrests – 5 persons/8 Charges
Misdemeanor – 16 persons/26 Charges
Drug Related Arrests – 4
Fugitive Arrests – 2
Guns – 2
Marijuana – 32 grams
Crack Cocaine – 11 grams
Suboxone – 1 strip
Total Drug Value: $1440.00
Cash Seized: $1480.00
Search Warrant – 1

“This multi-agency combined effort is an example of how cooperative efforts can have a major impact on the drug trafficking industry in the Eastern Panhandle of WV and the surrounding areas. We would like to thank each officer who participated and we look forward to working with these agencies in the future,” Berkeley County Sheriff Rob Blair said.

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Maryland man charged for soliciting a minor online

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia announced the sentencing for Holden Borten, 25, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, earlier this week.

Borten was originally arrested following an attempted sexual encounter with someone he believed was under the age of 12.

Court documents and statements made claim Borten traveled from Maryland to Berkeley County, West Virginia with expectations of a sexual encounter with a minor in December of 2022.

When Borten arrived at the established location, he was met by law enforcement.

Following the trial, Borten was sentenced to 135 months in a federal prison.

Upon completion of his sentence, Borten will be placed on supervised leave for the rest of his life.

The investigation was led by the West Virginia State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Unit and the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberley Crockett prosecuted the case on behalf of the federal government and U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh presided.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

82 people indicted in WV drug trafficking network

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

82 people were indicted by a federal grand jury for their role in a drug trafficking network in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia distributing fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine.

Individuals from Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia were charged, including Gary Bernard Brown Jr, 38 of Baltimore, who is believed to have supplied large quantities of fentanyl for distribution in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.

The investigation discovered 10 kilograms of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, firearms, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and assets.

This enforcement effort was a part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation dedicated to identifying, disrupting, and dismantling high level crime organizations.

11 of the 82 defendants are still at large including Kendall Axavier Baker, 31 of Winchester, and 9 others from the Eastern Panhandle.

A full list of the defendants at large is available here.

If you have any information on this case or the individuals, contact the US Marshal’s office at 1-877-926-8332.

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Hagerstown man pleads guilty to stalking

Derik Wayne Bowers, age 44, of Hagerstown, Maryland, pled guilty today to one count of stalking.

According to court documents, Bowers harassed and intimidated his ex-girlfriend in Berkeley County following their break-up, sometimes using social media to undermine her online business.

Despite an emergency protection order granted to the victim, Bowers placed more than 800 phone calls to her during a 48-hour period and sent nearly 2,000 text messages in six months.

The FBI investigated the Bowers case. Bowers is facing up to five years in prison.

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Commercial Metals Company breaks ground in Berkeley County

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice attended the groundbreaking of Commercial Metals Company in Berkeley County yesterday.

The Fortune 500 company originally announced the location of their fourth micro-mill in December of 2022.

In late June 2023, they completed the purchase of the land and received the appropriate permits required for construction.

Once completed, the project will employ 230 people on a full time basis.

The plant is scheduled to open late in 2025 and will produce various sizes of both straight length and spooled rebar.

CMC is a leading global provider of ground and soil stabilizing solutions to over 80 countries.

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Berkeley County blaze claims life of resident and pet

Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department announced that a structure fire in South Berkeley County claimed the lives of a resident and a pet early in the morning of April 26th.

BHVFD was notified of a structure fire with entrapment on the 3100 block of Winchester Avenue south of Martinsburg.

Upon arrival, crews discovered the first victim just inside the front door had already passed away.

Crews continued to search for the second occupant who was located outside the structure and they were treated and sent to a local hospital for further evaluation.

The identities of the occupants have not been released.

No working smoke detectors were found in the home.

Two out of three home fire deaths are a result of fires in homes with no working smoke detectors.

The  recommend changing the batteries when changing clocks for daylight savings time and to have alarms on each floor, in every bedroom, and outside of every interior door.

The blaze is under investigation through the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s office.

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Berkeley County’s Prosecutor ask for a special Prosecutor

Berkeley County Prosecutor Catie Wilkes Delligatti confirmed that she is going to ask a special prosecutor be appointed to review the accident involving the daughter of the Berkeley County Sheriff.

Sheriff Nathan Harmon’s 22-year-old daughter Carrie was involved in a single vehicle accident on Jan. 6 in which she ran off the road and damaged property on Cemetery Road in Berkeley County.

West Virginia Metro News reports that Harmon did make his way to the scene to make sure his daughter was medically sound.

Harmon also wishes to be totally transparent in the incident and called the wreck a basic traffic accident with no sign of alcohol being involved.

Body camera footage from responding Deputy William Henderson shows Harmon asking if Carrie had been drinking.

Henderson replied that he couldn’t tell with no mention of alcohol or drug use in the official report.

Prosecutor Wilkes Delligatti wants to ensure total transparency with the appointment of the special prosecutor.

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