GILBERT — Additional charges were brought against Tommy Mounts, 66, of Gilbert Creek, in connection with an ongoing police investigation that originally stemmed from controlled buys of Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances made by an undercover informant.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Mingo County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) Deputy E. Williams and Gilbert Asst. Police Chief (GPD) N. Glanden , Sgt. D. Salmons and Patrolman C. Haynes, Mounts was arrested in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 20, following a controlled buy of a 30 mg Oxycodone tablet that was purchased for the price of $50. Numerous complaints had been voiced against Mounts by members of the local community, and anonymous tips had also been received in this matter that had been the subject of an official investigation for several weeks.
Following the arrest, attempts were made to obtain a search warrant for the residence which at first, was denied when Mingo County Magistrate Dee Sidebottom allegedly refused to grant the request based on what she stated was a lack of probable cause. After acquiring additional evidence that included statements from two females who lived in the home with Mounts, law enforcement were granted a warrant to search the premises from Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler.
“We discovered approximately $10,000 to $15,000 worth of prescription pills and over $100,000 worth of merchandise that included 3 vehicles, 92 firearms, knives, gun scopes, jewelry, one 4-wheeler, one motorcycle, 4 riding lawn mowers, 7 push lawn mowers, 5 weed eaters, 3 chain saws and a large variety and quantity of an assortment of power tools,” stated Glanden. “The large amount of prescription pills we recovered contained approximately 70 different types, with a lot of them being controlled substances.”
“We were told this was one of, if not the largest drug bust in Mingo County’s history.”
The pills were found inside a metal filing cabinet that was located in an out building, along with the ATV and motorcycle. The remaining items were situated throughout the mobile home, with the closet containing the firearms being hid behind a dresser that had numerous things sitting on its top.
“If you didn’t look for the opening, you wouldn’t have known where it was located,” said Deputy Williams. “We were amazed at the amount of guns inside when we opened the door. As far as you could see back into the closet, there were guns. Stuff was piled up everywhere in the trailer, it resembled the television show ‘Hoarders’. “
Mounts was charged on Saturday with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, but was later released from custody after Magistrate Sidebottom ruled the warrant invalid based on reasons she identified as an improper code, the warrant not being signed in front of her and that the complaining officer was not present to answer additional questions she had in this matter.
Following Mounts’ release, the defendant is said to have returned to his residence where he allegedly held a knife to the throat of Joetta “Jodi” Ellis, identified as his girlfriend, accusing her of turning him in to authorities for selling drugs.
Mounts was arrested by Deputies M.J. Mounts and R. Fitch on charges of domestic assault, domestic battery and brandishing. While being arraigned by Chief Magistrate Toler, the original charges and arrest warrant was evaluated and the circumstances soon changed for the defendant, who was re-arrested and arraigned on the drug-related charges.
“I found no inadequacies in the warrant and had no problem signing my name,” stated Toler. “These officers performed a great service to the public with this arrest and are to be commended on a job well done.”
Bond was set at a total of $102,500 full-cash and the defendant was remanded to jail.
Sunday evening, a call was placed to Mingo County 911 from a neighbor who lived near the Mounts residence, saying that someone had broken into the mobile home. Upon arrival, police discovered Ellis, the female Mounts had held the knife on and a male identified as Kevin Hinkle inside the home. The trailer had been taped and roped off and was identified as a crime scene; with ‘do not enter” postings on the entrance.
Ellis was found to be in possession of a Hydrocodone (Lortab) tablet and 9 Lyrica tablets, which is identified as a Schedule V substance. During a pat-down, a total of $1,900 was discovered in her shoe and pants leg. Ellis was charged with one felony count of possession with intent to deliver, trespassing – asked to leave premises and one misdemeanor count of possession with intent to deliver. She was arraigned before Magistrate Sidebottom.
On Monday, Mounts was charged with additional counts related to the drug bust, which are possession with intent to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone); possession with intent to deliver a Schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone); and transferring and receiving stolen property. He was arraigned via video by Toler from the Southwestern Regional Jail and was issued a $125,000 full-cash bond on these new charges, for a total of $227,500.
“This is still an ongoing investigation and we are pursuing leads that came from this bust, as well as inventorying all items owned by Mounts which include approximately 10 parcels of land, 2-3 homes and a sizeable bank accounts in which large amounts of money have been deposited in each month,” said Glanden. “We were happy to assist Deputy Williams in this matter and we feel this arrest has put a definite dent in the drug crimes in the Justice community.”
“This is what happens when you work as a team, you get things accomplished.”
The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) were in Gilbert on Monday, conducting background checks on all the guns confiscated in this arrest, and stated that to date, thirty of the firearms are known to have been stolen.
“These guns are stole and are then either traded for drugs or sold to get money to buy drugs,” said Mingo County Special Investigator Eugene Crum. “Whatever amount they manage to get for their trade is clear profit for them, because it didn’t cost them anything to start with. It wasn’t their property.”
The ATF spoke with Prosecutor C. Michael Sparks and informed him they plan to assume the firearms portion of the investigation in the near future.
“I commend MCSD Deputy E. Williams, Corporal C. Endicott, Gilbert Assistant Chief N. Glanden , Sgt. D. Salmons and Patrolman C. Haynes for an outstanding drug enforcement investigation,” said Sparks.
“I also commend Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler for going above and beyond the call of duty to prevent a grave injustice to the citizens of the Baisden community and Mingo County. Chief Magistrate Toler fairly, impartially and correctly authorized the search warrant and issued the warrants of arrest.”
“The success of this drug enforcement investigation was achieved through a unified commitment to the cause of justice. Our recent fast, flexible and smart approach to drug enforcement has been highly successful, resulting in 25 felony drug cases since August 1st of this year.”