Accused of attempting to deliver tobacco to inmates on Aug. 6, a Bland Correctional Center supervisor was arrested on Monday and charged with a misdemeanor.

Raymond L. Bates, 30, of Ceres will be arraigned Sept. 4 on the charge that carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and $2,500 fine.

According to a criminal complaint from a Virginia Department of Corrections special agent, investigators watched the staff parking lot on Aug. 6 to see if Bates, the agricultural supervisor, “would attempt to deliver tobacco to the Beverage Plant.”

“An anonymous complaint claimed that Bates delivered tobacco to offenders at the Beverage Plant on Tuesday mornings.”

Investigators said they watched Bates take a cooler from his personal vehicle and place it inside a state van before heading toward the plant.

DOC officers stopped the van and searched the cooler where they found a plastic bag of smokeless tobacco in the bottom, according to the complaint.

In an interview, Bates told investigators that the tobacco was for his personal use.

“He indicated that there was a couple of tubs of snuff and a roll of snuff in the package and that he was going to hide it in a cooler in the Beverage Plant,” the agent wrote. “…Bates denied that he ever gave or sold any tobacco to inmates.”

A DOC spokesperson didn’t respond to questions about the arrest by press time.

Bates was released on a summons while awaiting trial.

Campaign signs vandalized

Tom Blankenship, a candidate for the Bland County Board of Supervisors, reported on Aug. 9 that three of his campaign signs had been vandalized.

According to Sheriff Jason Ramsey, the word “no” was spray painted on the signs, which had been placed in the Mechanicsburg area.

An independent candidate, Blankenship is running against two opponents for the District 3 seat on the board. The election is in November.

Ramsey said that Deputy J.P. Agee is handling the case.

Ohio motorist charged with reckless driving

Accused of going 104 miles per hour on Interstate 77, an Ohio resident was charged with reckless driving on Aug. 11.

Johnnie Garrett Wamsley, 27, of Gallipolis, will be arraigned Aug. 21 on the misdemeanor charge.

In a criminal complaint, Deputy J.P. Agee said he clocked Wamsley’s northbound sedan at 104 mph in a 70-mph zone while working radar at the 49.5 mile marker.

Agee said Wamsley told him that “he was passing a car that kept putting on their brakes.”

Wamsley, who has no criminal history and was released on a $1,000 bond, will be tried Sept. 25.

“LEO states he was polite and cooperative and gave no issue,” a magistrate wrote.

N.C. man charged with reckless driving

Accused of driving his large pickup truck into the Interstate 77 emergency lane where a deputy was sitting inside his patrol car, a North Carolina man was charged with reckless driving and having an open container of alcohol on Aug. 10.

Leonard Estel Harvey, 65, of Mooresville, will be tried Sept. 25 in Bland County General District Court.

Deputy J.P. Agee said in a criminal complaint that he smelled alcohol on Harvey after stopping his truck at the 52.4 mile marker.

He said Harvey showed signs of impairment during field sobriety tests and blew a .05 – below the legal driving limit -- when given a blood alcohol test.

Harvey, whose criminal record includes charges of DUI, escape and fraud, is free on a $1,000 bond while awaiting trial, according to court documents.

Start your day with top headlines from our News, Sports, and Opinion pages.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.