MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — One of the Ohio Valley’s major heroin dealers and 12 cohorts were arrested Thursday after a year-long joint investigation involving state and federal law enforcement.
U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld, along with Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Cecil, Prosecutor Rhonda Wade and Moundsville Police Chief Thomas Mitchell to announce seven state and six federal arrests involving heroin distribution.
Christopher T. Gyorko, 30, of Pittsburgh is alleged to have orchestrated and managed a drug trafficking operation throughout the Ohio Valley, according to Ihlenfeld. Gyorko is named on the 18-count federal indictment, along with Jeff R. Andlinger, 34, of Benwood; John D. McKee, 30; Joseph P. McKee, 25; Doug Nolte, 35; and George L. LaShare, 24, all of Wheeling.
Officials said LaShare is an employee of the West Virginia Department of Corrections in Wheeling. Ohio County Correctional Complex Warden William Yurnica would not confirm LaShare’s employment but said the facility would need state approval for any employment action. LaShare’s Facebook page indicates he is a DOC employee.
Also included in the arrests is George N. Sidiropolis, 35, of McMechen, charged with one-count of federal information for conspiracy to distribute. Sidiropolis practices law in Marshall County.
Marshall County residents charged on the state level include Johnathan M. Novick, 24, of Glen Dale; William Novick, 33, of McMechen; Madelyn Dziorney, 21, of Moundsville; and Rosa Ruskin, 21, of Moundsville for delivery of a controlled substance. Steven E. Holmes, 25, of Cameron is charged with conspiracy to distribute, while Terry P. Davis, 33, of McMechen is charged with possesion and introduction of a controlled substance into jail.
According to Ihlenfeld, the arrests were completed with the help of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Initiative, a federal funding program.
Ihlenfeld said his department is working to stop major drug dealers in the area in order to also decrease smaller drug offenses.
“We have heroin in Marshall County and the Ohio Valley but its being supplied from other larger areas and source cities,” he said. “We have people who never step foot in the Ohio Valley but are doing a lot of damage here with heroin. We will continue to be aggressive in pursuing those individuals.”
Interim prosecutor Rhonda Wade provided legal aid to the Marshall County Drug Task Force and arranged meetings with federal agents in the final hour of the investigation.
“This is a big one, and it will help us to keep Marshall County safer,” she added.
Sheriff Kevin Cecil said he had dealt with the primary target, Gyorko, several times in the past when the defendant lived in Glen Dale. He added Gyorko’s arrest will make the county a safer place.
“We’ve been familiar with him for some time due to violence and drug charges,” he sad. “He’s created a drug enterprise that spans to Marshall County and has polluted our community.”
Moundsville Police Chief Thomas Mitchell said the city is dedicated to stopping the spread of heroin.
“We’ll keep looking for these people and we won’t stop until they’re out of the area,” he said.
According to Ihlenfeld, all 13 defendants have been accounted for and have met with a judge, although some have been released on bond.