UPDATE: McDowell moonshine/marijuana suspect turns self in - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: McDowell moonshine/marijuana suspect turns self in

Lewis Lester Lewis Lester
Melissa Lester Melissa Lester

WELCH (WVVA) - The owner of the property where authorities recently found an operational moonshine still an marijuana plants has turned himself in.

Lewis Harper Lester, 70, of Jolo, turned himself in at the McDowell County Sheriff's Office around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Sheriff Martin West.

Lester is charged with four counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy.

Bond was set at $75,000. He is being held in the McDowell County Holding Unit awaiting transport to Southwestern Regional Jail.

Lester's daughter, Melissa Lester had previously been arrested and charged at the time of the bust on Aug. 15.


PAYNESVILLE (WVVA) - Drug task force teams from both Virginia and West Virginia are in search of a suspect after discovering an operational moonshine still and marijuana plants at the Buchanan-McDowell county border.

According to a release from McDowell County Sheriff Martin West, a search warrant was executed in the Paynesville area of McDowell County on Aug. 15 at the property of 70-year-old Lewis "Reuben" Lester. Authorities discovered 50 marijuana plants averaging 15 feet tall growing near an operational moonshine still.

Authorities also found more moonshine hidden under hay bales in the suspect's barn, as well as a substantial amount of prescription medication and a firearm.

The property owner was not home at the time the search warrant issued. His daughter -- 25-year-old Melissa Lester -- was present and was arrested and charged with one count of operating a moonshine still, one count of cultivation of marijuana, five counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy.

Warrants have been issued for Lewis Lester for the charges of delivery of a controlled substance, four counts; and one count of conspiracy.

Anyone with information on Lewis 'Reuben' Lester's whereabouts are urged to contact the McDowell County Sheriff's Office or the West Virginia State Police.

West said this has been an ongoing investigation for several months. The West Virginia State Police, Buchanan County, Va., Sheriffs Office and the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force all participated in the execution of the search warrant.

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