UPDATE: One man sentenced to prison on drug charges

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – Jeffery T. Mauzy, Prosecuting Attorney, announces that on July 7, 2020, Bernard G. Echols, age 55 of Chicago, Illinois, was convicted of conspiring to possess between ten and one hundred grams of heroin with the intent to deliver following a one-day trial before Chief Judge Paul M. Blake, Jr.

On June 3, 2019, Deputy Sheriff C.M. Tomlin stopped a vehicle near Jones Avenue in Oak Hill after observing multiple traffic violations. Echols was one of two occupants of the car, and a search of the car revealed several bags of heroin, cash, and scales.

Echols will be sentenced on August 31, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. He faces between two and fifteen years in prison.

This crime was investigated by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Elizabeth K. Campbell.


FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – A traffic stop leads to two drug arrests in Fayette County.  Sheriff Mike Fridley released the following information regarding this incident.

In the early morning hours on Monday,  a Fayette County Sheriff’s Deputy was on routine patrol on WV Route 61 (Deepwater Mountain Road). He observed a Hyundai Tuscon commit a traffic offense and subsequently conducted a traffic stop. The deputy observed indicators that led him to believe the occupants may be trafficking narcotics.  A search of the vehicle revealed a large quantity of heroin and US currency.

The occupants of the vehicle were arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver Narcotics and Conspiracy to Commit a Felony.  Arnesha Higginbotham (27 of Beckley) and Bernard Echols (55 of Chicago) were transported to the Southern Regional Jail to await arraignment. Echols was found to have 15 different aliases and social security numbers.

If you have any information regarding this incident, contact the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department at 304-574-3590, or through our Facebook page “Fayette County Sheriff’s Department,” or you can contact Crime Stoppers of West Virginia at 304-255-STOP. This incident remains under investigation by Deputy C.M Tomlin of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.

Fayette County Sheriff’s Department disclaimer: All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. A criminal complaint is nothing more than a document that merely alleges a criminal charge.

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