WOODSTOCK – Authorities arrested more people last week as part of an ongoing effort to stem the illegal drug trade in the region.
The Northern Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force and area law enforcement agencies conducted its seventh annual Operation Valley Venue on June 13. The operation netted 70 charges on suspects in five counties, according to information released by Joshua T. Price, Virginia State Police supervisory special agent for the task force. Agents also seized more than $23,770 in illegal drugs during the operation.
Agencies conducted the operation as a collaborative effort to identify, target and arrest people responsible for distributing, manufacturing and transporting illegal narcotics. Agencies concentrated their effort on criminal activity in the five counties and the corresponding towns and cities.
The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrests of the following people as part of the operation:
Michael Lowell Hooker, 48, of 403 N. Main St., Apt. 9, Woodstock; Edwin Cloyd Aumiller, 26, of 2983 Stoney Creek Road, Edinburg; and Sirreginald Benton, 43, of Woodstock.
A grand jury on June 12 indicted Hooker on three counts of distribution of heroin and one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin. The grand jury indicted Aumiller on one count of methamphetamine distribution. Authorities arrested Aumiller and Hooker on warrants issued by a judge. Agents arrested Benton on an alleged probation violation. Benton and Hooker remain held without bond at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. Aumiller was released from the jail Wednesday.
Benton and Hooker appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court before Judge Kevin Black on Wednesday.
The latest Operation Valley Venue marks the seventh time law enforcement agencies collaborated in an effort to tackle the region’s drug problem.
Participating agencies made arrests for 55 felony charges and five misdemeanors. They issued 10 court summons, executed three search warrants, conducted 46 probation searches and made three interdiction traffic stops and associated searches.
Authorities seized the following:
• 51 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of $5,700.
• 45 grams of marijuana valued at $530.
• 689 grams of THC oil valued at $13,600.
• 24 doses of prescription medication with a value of $240.
• 34 grams of cocaine with a value of $3,400.
• One gram of crack cocaine with a value of $100.
• One gram of heroin valued at $200.
• $15,075 in cash.
The task force includes Sheriff’s Offices in Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties; police departments from Front Royal and Strasburg; the Winchester Police Department and the state police.