By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
Andrew Todd Tanner, 40, of Moorefield, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory in Hardy County Circuit Court Tuesday, March 25.
Tanner, a former Hardy County Sheriff’s Deputy, has a history of drug abuse. According to court documents, Tanner became addicted to prescription pain killers in 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, Tanner was prescribed hundreds of pills per month by Dr. Rajan Masih. In 2009, then Sheriff Robert Ferrell ordered Tanner to seek counseling.
Masih lost his license to practice medicine after prescribing drugs that led to the death of four people and the addiction of countless others.
Tanner was first indicted in 2010 for 12 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation or fraud. A coconspirator stole a prescription pad from a local physician and the two were writing their own prescriptions.
Tanner pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation or fraud. He was sentenced to not less than one and not more than four years, which was suspended. He was sentenced to five years probation, but was released early.
In January, Moorefield Police obtained a search warrant for Tanner’s residence based on an investigation that began in July 2013. The search warrant revealed numerous items used in the manufacture of meth amphetamine.
According to the police report, while Tanner would not provide a written statement, he admitted to officers he had been manufacturing meth amphetamine for six months.
At the March 25 hearing, Tanner’s attorney, David Judy introduced a representative from the Veterans Administration who said Tanner qualified for drug treatment and a post traumatic stress disorder program.
“He certainly needs therapy,” said David Gower from the Veterans Administration. “We did a drug and alcohol evaluation and he more than qualifies.”
Judy said he advised his client to plead guilty and requested he be sent to VA treatment. “I think it’s in my client’s best interest,” he said.
Hardy County Prosecuting Attorney Lucas See said he wants Tanner to be further evaluated.
“The state is requesting a 60-day evaluation,” he said. “We need to see if he is a candidate for drug rehab. There needs to be a punishment component.”
Tanner admitted to manufacturing meth amphetamine. “It was a stupid decision,” he said.
Judy said Tanner is being held at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail on 23-hour lock down because he was a former law enforcement officer. “He had an exemplary record before drugs,” he said.
Circuit Court Judge Charles Parsons found Tanner guilty of attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory.
“Get treatment and come back for a status hearing on May 28,” he said. “I’m sympathetic because of your service. I’m not sympathetic because of the meth lab.”
Other cases heard included: