By Rachel Dove
CHARLESTON - Dallas L. Toler, a former Mingo County magistrate who resigned from office prior to pleading guilty to one count of voter registration fraud, is currently held without bond in the South Central Regional Jail after he allegedly violated the condition of his bond set by U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston.
A bond revocation hearing for Toler was held Thursday before Johnston, who found probable cause and revoked the defendant’s $10,000 personal recognizance bond and ordered him detained until his sentencing date. As of now, his sentencing is scheduled for March 10, pending further proceedings.
According to the bond revocation order that was served on Toler on Monday by U.S. Marshals, an investigation separate from the underlying prosecution foundthat the defendant has been involved in the distribution of cocaine in direct violation of state and federal laws. The defendant allegedly knowingly allowed his personal vehicle to be used to transport cocaine.
The individuals, who remain unnamed, were stopped by an officer with the Williamson Police Department last Dec. 31. During the stop, cocaine was allegedly discovered and one of the two men in the vehicle agreed to act as a confidential informant, and told law enforcement officers that he had been buying and selling cocaine and sharing the profits with Toler. On that same day, the ilnformant placed a recorded call to Toler, and during the call, the defendant acquiesces to the informant’s statement that he “needs to get the coke” out of the vehicle, which had been impounded by Duba’s Wrecker Service.
According to officials, the substance in Toler’s vehicle initially field tested negative for narcotic substances, but it was later sent to the West Virginia State Police lab for further investigation, a footnote explained. The informant allegedly told the officer he had purchased an “eight ball” of cocaine, cut with wax.
The revocation order further states that the informant’s statements regarding his dealings with the defendant were corroborated on Jan. 3, during an audio/video recorded encounter in which Toler accepted a payment of $850 from the informant, and the two discussed a plan for the informant to buy additional cocaine to distribute to individuals in the area for profit. During this encounter, according to the court order, Toler also agrees that the informant will bring him a portion of the profits from the drug distribution. On Jan. 8, consistent with their previous discussion, the defendant accepted a cash payment from the informant, the court order states.
Toler also allegedly contacted Williamson Police Chief Barry Blair on Jan. 10, inquiring whether cocaine was found in his vehicle during the initial traffic stop. The conversation was recorded by a member of the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department.
Based on this evidence, there was probable cause to believe the defendant had violated the terms of his bond and the revocation order was signed and entered on Monday. At approximately 11 p.m. that night, Toler was taken into custody.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby wouldn’t say after Thursday’s hearing if prosecutors plan to file additional charges against Toler for the cocaine accusation. Toler’s attorney attempted to get his client released, explaining that he is a diabetic and was scheduled to have surgery within days of his arrest on his foot, which has a deep, open sore and had tested positive for MRSA. He said he feared Toler may lose his foot if the infection is allowed to spread. Judge Johnston denied the request for bail but did sign an order for the defendant to receive medical attention and treatment while incarcerated.
The initial vote charge against Toler stemmed from a widespread probe of corruption in Mingo County. The defendant, who pleaded guilty to the single felony count last December, knowingly submitted a voter’s registration card for a person that was on probation for a felony offense, a federal grand jury found. He is among several public officials convicted in a federal corruption investigation. Ex-commissioner David Baisden was sentenced last month to more than a year and a half in prison on an extortion charge. He pleaded guilty in October of trying to buy tires for his personal vehicle at a government discount in 2009, then terminating the county’s contract with Appalachian Tire when they refused to cooperate.
Former Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury and ex-county prosecutor C. Michael Sparks were accused of protecting the late Sheriff Eugene Crum from revelations that Crum bought drugs from a campaign sign maker (George White) who was arrested on felony drug charges. White is said to have spoken with federal agents concerning these allegations. When Crum found out, he allegedly enlisted the help of Thornsbury, Sparks, Baisden and a family member of White’s to cease the defendant’s communication with federal investigators and change attorneys in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Sparks pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of depriving White of his constitutional rights and Thornsbury pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiring to deprive White of his rights. Both men are awaiting sentencing.