WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — The Wheeling Police Department announced on Monday that several individuals were charged during a two-week special operation targeting specific nuisance related crimes in several sections of the city.

“Operation Silent Night” took place from Dec. 12-23, 2022, in neighborhoods where police say specific data and crime trends by WPD’s Crime Analysts Office showed an uptick in incidents. Areas monitored by police included East Wheeling, South Wheeling, Center Wheeling, Wheeling Island and Downtown.

Additionally, officers, both in marked and unmarked vehicles, say they focused on improving quality of life issues for residents in the city. Individuals arrested and facing criminal charges include:

  • Jessie Covington, 39 of Wheeling

Active capias for a bond violation

  • Arliena Henry, 46 of Wheeling
    Fugitive from Justice out of the State of Ohio
  • Ruby Holley, 42 of Wheeling
    Municipal court capias from the City of Wheeling
  • Stephen Hoppin, 54 of Wheeling
    Fugitive from Justice out of the State of Ohio
  • Seth Nelson, 34 of Wheeling
    Possession of Controlled Substance
  • Paul Strick, 68 of Bellaire, Ohio
    DUI (1st Offense) and Possession of Controlled Substance

Three others received citations:

  • Richard Britton, 38 of Wheeling

Driving with a Suspended Operators License

  • Benjamin Edwards, 51 of Wheeling

No Operators License and Possession of Controlled Substance

  • Steven Stewart, 66 of Martins Ferry, Ohio

Possession of Controlled Substance

Police say two major incidents occurred during the two-week period. The first happened on Friday, Dec. 16 when officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle in East Wheeling for traffic violations. As a result, the driver ran from police at a high rate of speed a visual of the car was unable to be maintained. Shortly after, officers say they located the vehicle in the area and observed that it was unoccupied with its windows in the down position. Police say no suspect was located, and the incident remains under investigation.

Police say the second notable event took place on Dec. 19, when officers working the operation obtained an arrest warrant for Joseph Helmbright, 54 of Wheeling and charged him with Maintaining/Operating a Drug Premise. This was the result of a search warrant at 82 – 45th Street in South Wheeling. Police say Helmbright is still currently wanted for this charge.

Police seek Wheeling fugitive accused of operating a drug house

During the entire operation, officers say they seized the following approximate total amounts of illegal controlled substances and items:

  • Methamphetamine – Approximately 4.55 grams
  • Crack Cocaine – Approximately 1.7 grams
  • Buprenorphine – Approximately 2.5 pills
  • Marijuana – Approximately 38.45 grams
  • One Firearm
  • Large amount of drug paraphernalia

The operation was funded mostly by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Additional overtime was covered by the City of Wheeling.