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Route 250 Closed Jan. 27 Due To Explosives Found In Truck

January 29, 2019
Wetzel Chronicle

Area residents traveling in the northeastern-most part of Wetzel County might have experienced some travel delays Sunday, Jan. 27 as a section of Route 250, north of Mannington, was closed for several hours during the late morning and early afternoon hours. The closure came as Marion County law enforcement responded to a call regarding two men passed out inside of a pickup truck. Law enforcement reported that they discovered the two men, along with pipe bombs inside the truck.

Damon Leigh Sturgeon, 39, of Mannington, was arrested and charged with illegal possession of destructive devices. Jason Lee Barr, 44, also of Mannington, was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine.

According to the Marion County Magistrate Complaint, law enforcement responded to a call regarding two males slumped over in a Maroon Dodge Ram. An officer knocked on the driver side window, and the male later identified as Sturgeon woke up "and appeared very confused." Sturgeon, who was advised to roll down the vehicle's window, began to look around and reach under the seat.

Sturgeon was then told to exit the vehicle, and he complied.

In the meantime, another officer had knocked on the passenger side of the vehicle and made contact with a male later identified as Jason Barr.

The complaint states that both men, who appeared to be under the influence of a drug and/or narcotic, were asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle. They both stated no.

Barr was then asked if law enforcement could search his vehicle, and he complied.

"I opened the front driver side door and observed a gas mask laying on the driver seat and then opened the driver side rear door and observed a black and white backpack behind the driver seat and a camouflage backpack behind the passenger seat," the complaint reads.

The complaint further states that law enforcement observed an open front vertical zip pocket of the black and white backpack and a black cylinder "that had a spring and what appearing (sic) to be a fuse coming out of one end, a squeeze bottle container that was taped up that also had what appeared to be a fuse coming from one end and a clear plastic container with a red lid that contained screws and metal pellets and a hole approximately the same size as the fuses of the other devices."

The search was ceased, and Barr and Sturgeon were both detained. It is noted that neither Barr or Sturgeon claimed the black and white backpack, though Barr said he owned the camouflage backpack.

The criminal complaint states that the West Virginia State Police responded with a bomb technician, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was also alerted. Four devices were dismantled. A search revealed a glass pipe, digital scales, and plastic baggies containing a white/crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine were discovered in the camouflage backpack.

During further investigation, Sturgeon allegedly told BATF Special Agents that he made the devices at Barr's Mannington residence, inside the garage.

The complaint reports a search warrant obtained for this location yielded various improvised explosive device components, a black powder can, and several tools.

Bond for Sturgeon was set at $200,000. Bond for Barr was set at $2,500.

Published reports indicate that law enforcement is unsure as to why Sturgeon possessed the pipe bombs.



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