On Saturday, April 30, Trooper E. W. Clark of the Sutton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police received a complaint through Braxton Control that the occupants in a white Chevrolet Cruise had brandished what appeared to be a revolver hand gun at a fellow motorist when passing them on Route 5 near Burnsville. Troopers Clark, along with Troopers C. Harper and J.R. Garrett responded to the call.
The officers located the vehicle and stopped it near the 69-mile marker of I-79. The vehicles contained two occupants. The driver was identified as Phillip R. Mace II. His passenger was Cynthia Dawn Ellis. Both Mace, 37 and Ellis, 39 were from Belle, WV.
The officer’s investigation led to the discovery that Mace was not in possession of a valid driver’s license. A search of the vehicle reveled a revolver and two additional handguns. Mace was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a felony conviction for conspiracy in a drug related case tried in January 2015. Also located in the vehicle were digital scales with a white powdery residue, multiple baggies and other paraphernalia used to package drugs. The Mountain Lakes Drug and Violent Crimes Unit was notified to assist the responding officers. Officers also discovered information on Mace’s cell phone that appeared to document drug transactions.
Both the driver and passenger were arrested and taken to the Central Regional Jail for processing. A search of Ellis by a CRJ Female Correctional Officer revealed two large bundles of cash hidden on her upper body and a large bag of white crystal-like substance hidden within her body. Officers identified the substance as 80 grams of methamphetamine and $3,700 in cash.
Mace was arraigned before Braxton County Magistrate Beth Smith on felony charges of prohibited person in possession of a firearm, possession with the intent to deliver, and conspiracy to deliver an illegal substance. He was lodged in the Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash only bond. Ellis was also arraigned before Magistrate Smith. She was charged with felony possession with the intent to deliver, conspiracy to deliver an illegal substance, and bringing a controlled substance into a Regional Jail. Her bond too was set at $50,000 cash only. Both remain incarcerated at the CRJ at press-time awaiting further court proceedings.