'Buckwild' cast member arrested on drug charge
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A cast member of MTV's "Buckwild" reality show was arrested in Nicholas County on drug charges over the weekend.
Salwa Amin, 24, of Charleston was arrested late Sunday with Jason Jones, 24, of Summersville, and Shawn Booker, 41, of Detroit. The arrest occurred at Jones' Summersville home.
Amin is a cast member of the popular but controversial show, which was just renewed for a second season. The show, which aired its first-season finale Thursday, features a group of nine rowdy young people displaying their brand of fun in the hills and hollows of the Sissonville and Charleston areas.
A George Washington High School graduate, Amin attended West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery. She earned a degree in accounting, according to Kackie Eller, a guidance counselor at GW.
"She was a very bright young lady and a very beautiful young lady," Eller said. "She's very personable and I truly enjoyed knowing her. I find all of this hard to believe.
"She's not the kind of person I thought would do that."
A confidential informant told officers with the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force Sunday that a shipment of drugs was being delivered to a Summersville home in a vehicle with Michigan license plates, according to a complaint filed in Nicholas Magistrate Court.
Officers staked out the Rainbow Lane home and were conducting surveillance when a vehicle bearing Michigan tags pulled up. Officers said in the complaint that several people were in and out of the home while they were watching it. They considered that a possible sign of drug trafficking.
Detectives obtained a search warrant and moved in. They found Amin, Jones and Booker hiding in a shed behind Jones' home.
Police found oxycodone in Amin's purse. Booker had a large amount of cash on him. A search of the shed turned up three packages of heroin, the complaint said.
Jones told officers that Amin and Booker had brought the drugs to his house to distribute to residents in Nicholas County.
The three were arrested and charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and a single count of conspiracy. Nicholas Magistrate John Morton Jr. arraigned them by video. All three are being held at Central Regional Jail.
Morton set bond at $200,000 for each. A magistrate assistant at the Nicholas County Courthouse said a $50,000 bond is typical for a drug charge but each charge carries a bond, explaining the high amount.
Amin was among the cast last fall when "Buckwild" premiered on MTV. The 24-year-old describes herself as "Bengali in boots" in her bio on MTV's website. It says she lives at home with her "strict" parents, who are from Bangladesh. Her father is a professor at WVU Tech, Eller said.
The guidance counselor wasn't surprised when she saw Amin would be on "Buckwild."
"Salwa loves a good time," she said.
Eller said while she could conceive of the former student using drugs, she could not imagine her selling them.
Eller said she ran into Amin about a year ago and she was "just as pleasant as she'd always been" and told her she was working at an accounting firm in Charleston.
The counselor said she had watched the show, as many of the students at George Washington were talking about it. At least one other cast member, Katie Saria, attended GW.
"I saw the first show and didn't want to watch anymore," she said, adding that she thinks the show is trash. "I think teenagers in this area have a lot more going for them than what they're showing on that show."
"Buckwild" cast members were chatty on social media Monday but avoided this topic, it seems. Cast member Cara Parrish posted, "I really hope we don't all get judged for what one person did and the rest of us certainly don't approve of," on her Twitter account.
MTV spokeswoman Candice Ashton said the network did not have any comment on Amin's arrest.
MTV has said the half-hour series has drawn an average 3 million viewers per episode since its premier in January and is the No. 1 original cable series on Thursday nights among 12- to 34-year-olds.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and other critics have said the show is a negative portrayal of West Virginia's young people. Manchin asked the network in December to cancel the show.
Amin, Booker and Jones remain at Central Regional Jail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.