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Search of home yields drugs, guns

>h3>Documents: Suspected dealer had been living at Spring Street residence

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Investigators found guns and drugs in the basement of a home where a suspected drug dealer had been staying, according to Shenandoah County Circuit Court records.

Members of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force searched 411 W. Spring St. on Nov. 29, according to a search warrant. Joshua Samuel Knafel, 24, had been living there and was under investigation for drug dealing, an affidavit for the search warrant says.

It says an informant told police he'd supplied Knafel with about 20 pounds of marijuana -- in 5-pound increments -- between August and October 2010.

On Nov. 19, two police officers went to the Spring Street home to check on the welfare of Knafel's mother, Cindy Williams, the affidavit says.

"Officers were met at the door by Joshua Knafel and a scuffle ensued," it says. "After entering the residence Officers smelled the odor of burned marijuana."

The police officers asked Knafel's girlfriend where the odor was coming from, and she at first said she didn't know, but then showed them where she had thrown marijuana and a smoking device outside, according to the affidavit.

It says Knafel was charged with obstruction of justice, assault on a police officer and possession of marijuana for that incident.

On Nov. 29, an officer met Knafel at the home at Knafel's request so he could pick up some of his belongings. After Knafel left, the officer went back to talk to Williams about the Nov. 19 incident and another from Nov. 22, the affidavit says.

Williams told the officer someone had been in her basement on Thanksgiving, and the officer could smell marijuana in the area of a safe in the basement, the affidavit says.

During the search, investigators seized about a dozen guns, including a Glock, a .357-caliber Taurus revolver and a .12-gauge Mossberg; ammunition and magazines; a marijuana grinder; marijuana; a smoking device; an iPod, a cell phone and a laptop, according to an evidence log filed with the search warrant.


I read this article three times, and still am not sure how this all went down. It sounds like two police officers, out of the blue, decided to check on Ms. Williams. With that as an excuse, forced their way into this home. It also sounds like a Gestapo like interrogation took place. I mean, once someone tells you they don't know the source of an odor, what would you suspect took place to motivate this girlfriend to recant her story? Not sure if the problem is with police procedure or with the story writer. Useful to the story might have been an estimated amount of the drugs seized? If all this went down over a personal use amount of weed, the whole thing smacks of harassment To my knowledge, Woodstock isn't a Rights free zone. Yet..

There also seems to be a lack of information regarding legal charges, who the charges might be against, and for what.

The amount of drugs seized is somewhat critical to the story. It would explain if we were rid of a major drug Kingpin. If whoever was charged in this incident was charged with a felony, it might explain the seizing of the firearms. Otherwise, this article does more about raising concerns about police activity in Woodstock than drug trafficking.

I would side with the composition of the article.

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