Nelson Man Facing Firearms, Drug Charges Following Vehicle PursuitPosted: Updated:
Police are investigating a narcotics ring stretching across parts of central Virginia and the valley and, after a long car chase up Afton Mountain, they've got a suspect in custody.
An 18-month investigation led Waynesboro police to Kenneth Moore from Nelson County. They tracked him down Monday afternoon but it took a fast-paced chase and two Tasers to get him in handcuffs.
Police arrived on New Commerce Avenue in downtown Waynesboro Monday afternoon looking Moore, who was wanted on suspicions of drug trade. Police also believed he had firearms. It turned out he had both, including a semiautomatic weapon with a 30-round magazine.
After a Waynesboro police attempted to conduct a traffic stop of Moore, police say he reached for his backpack and then took off along Route 250 up Afton Mountain at speeds topping 80 miles per hour, with officers in close pursuit.
"We knew that if Mr. Moore got away we would have a larger problem so the decision was made to keep pursuing him," said Sgt. Brian Edwards with the Waynesboro Police Department.
The chase continued all the way up Afton Mountain and then down a steep hill in Nelson, where Moore crashed into an embankment. The crash launched him through his sunroof, his only injury a broken pinky finger. Moore came up swinging and police had to take him down with two Tasers.
“Even though he was ejected from the vehicle, his shoes knocked off of him, he was still up for a fight,” Edwards said.
Now, investigators are trying to chip away at a narcotics ring they say is taking the region by storm.
“It's pretty much exploded in 2014 to the point where we're starting to see large amounts of meth in Waynesboro. The drug trade is probably the most significant threat to our quality of life in this area. It's top of the list,” Edwards said.
Police did recover a small amount of meth at Moore's home.
He's being held without bond at the Middle River Regional Jail.
City of Waynesboro Police Department Press Release
The Waynesboro Police Department has arrested a Nelson County man on numerous charges after a vehicle pursuit ended with the subject wrecking his vehicle in Nelson County. The arrest also netted a large amount of methamphetamine, cash and two firearms. Officers charged Kenneth Michael Moore, Jr., 31 years old, of Shipman with four felonies connected with drugs and firearms after the nine minute, five mile pursuit.
On July 28, 2014, at approximately 12:55 PM, members of the Waynesboro Police Special Operations Division attempted to conduct a traffic stop of Moore who was the subject of a lengthy narcotics investigation into a methamphetamine ring among Nelson County and the cities of Waynesboro and Charlottesville. Moore was believed to be armed and carrying drugs at the time of the traffic stop in the 200 block of North Commerce Avenue. After initially stopping for police, Moore was observed furiously digging into a bag in his vehicle. He then fled the scene in his 1997 Toyota 4-Runner when police immediately approached his vehicle on foot.
The officer, a veteran patrol sergeant, initiated a pursuit and followed Moore across Afton Mountain on Route 250 East. His speed was estimated at nearly 80 MPH. Moore then turned right onto old Route 151/6 and started down Afton Mountain. Moments later, Moore lost control of his vehicle in a sharp turn and ran off the road on a steep embankment along a gravel driveway entrance to a residence. His vehicle flipped numerous times and he was ejected through the sunroof during the accident. The officer immediately tried to gain control of Moore as he attempted to flee the scene. Moore, who later admitted to being under the influence of methamphetamine heavily, was unaffected by an initial application of the Taser and was able to break the wires and get free. In socked feet, because his shoes had come off during the wreck, Moore ran through rough terrain and back onto Route 6. He was eventually apprehended in the middle of Route 6 approximately 200 yards from the wreck after a foot pursuit and being Tasered a second time. Moore was evaluated by Wintergreen Fire and Rescue at the scene but was uncooperative. He was later transported to Augusta Medical Center and treated for back and neck pain and broken right little finger. Moore’s vehicle was completely destroyed in the crash.
Inside Moore’s vehicle, Waynesboro Police recovered a black bag containing a loaded Mac-10 .45 caliber semi-auto subgun with a fully loaded 30 round magazine, a loaded Cobra .380 automatic pistol (later determined to be stolen from Staunton, VA), 5 ounces of crystal methamphetamine, $3,381 in US currency and digital scales.
Moore is facing the following charges:
· Felony Eluding;
· Possession of Methamphetamine with the Intent to Distribute;
· Felony Possession of a Firearm while in Possession of a Controlled Substance;
· Knowingly Possess a Stolen Firearm.
In total, these charges could carry up to a minimum/mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison, up to a maximum of 40 years.
Waynesboro Police, with assistance from the Virginia State Police, executed a follow on search warrant at Moore’s residence in Nelson County at 114 Evening Star Lane, Shipman, VA. As a result, another small quantity of methamphetamine was recovered, along with a .22 revolver. Virginia State Police will charge Moore as a result of this search warrant as well.
Moore’s arrest and the violent pursuit associated with it reflect a significant growth in methamphetamine sales in and around Waynesboro and the potential violence that it brings to our community.
Moore is being held without bond at Middle River Regional Jail.