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Two charged with trafficking in meth
PAINTSVILLE – Two Johnson County residents have been arrested on drug trafficking charges after police discovered a highly potent form of methamphetamine in their possession on Tuesday, August 29.
“This is probably one of the biggest meth busts in this county’s history,” said Johnson County Sheriff Bill Witten.
Charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance were 62-year-old Lonnie Dixon Jr. of Dixon Branch in Volga and his 37-year-old daughter-in law, Sherrie Margo Dixon of Martin Childers Drive in Thelma.
“The arrests were the direct result of a well-executed joint operation between UNITE and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office,” noted Lee Weddington, manager of UNITE’s Big Sandy Drug Task Force.
The investigation began after Weddington received a citizen’s tip reporting “an unusual amount of traffic” going in and out of the River View Apartments. He contacted Sheriff Witten and asked for deputies to provide assistance if a suspect was located.
About 2 p.m. Lonnie Dixon was seen leaving in a 2006 Chevy Malibu. Deputies Mike Johnson and Tom Wyatt conducted a traffic stop on the car after Dixon was spotted not wearing his seat belt as required by the state’s new primary seat belt law.
When asked if he had any drugs, Dixon produced a vial containing crystal meth, commonly known as “ice.” In addition, a large quantity of meth was located in the console. Combined, approximately 2.75 ounces of the drug was recovered from Dixon, Weddington.
“On the street, methamphetamine this pure would sell for between $200 and $300 per gram,” he noted. “There are approximately 27 grams in an ounce, so Mr. Dixon stood to make quite a bit of money.”
Dixon was subsequently arrested by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
Continuing their investigation, the deputies and UNITE detectives went to the apartment of Sherrie Dixon and received permission to search the residence. There they discovered about one-half ounce of meth, Weddington said.
Both suspects were lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.
“The sheriff’s office could not have made these arrests without Operation UNITE and Operation UNITE could not have done this without help from the sheriff’s office,” Weddington noted. “We are extremely grateful to Sheriff Witten for his efforts to respond to citizen concerns about drug dealing.”


88 suspects sought in five-county drug round-up

PIKEVILLE – On-going drug investigations by the Kentucky State Police and Operation UNITE resulted in a multi-county round-up of suspects Friday, August 25.
Approximately 50 law enforcement officers, working from KSP Post 9 in Pikeville and the National Guard Armory in Prestonsburg, began attempting to serve 88 arrest warrants shortly after 6 a.m.
Teams comprised of KSP troopers from four Posts and the Drug Enforcement Special Investigations Unit-East, UNITE detectives, and deputies from the Sheriff’s Offices in Pike, Floyd, Martin, Magoffin and Johnson counties attempted to locate suspects.
“Kentucky State Police had developed drug trafficking cases on 47 individuals. We knew UNITE has also been working in the Post area and invited them include their warrants,” said Trooper Shaun Little. “Ultimately we’re all after the same thing – to get these drug dealers off the street.”
Lee Weddington, manager of UNITE’s Big Sandy Task Force, said his detectives have been working separate investigations during the past year and had obtained arrest warrants for 25 people. An additional 16 individuals who had been sought but never located during previous drug round-ups were also included in Friday’s round-up, Weddington added.
Police located additional drugs and money in at least one location, which will result in additional charges being filed.
Suspects arrested in Pike County were taken to the Pike County Detention Center. Following processing at the National Guard Armory, those arrested in Martin, Magoffin and Johnson counties were lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, while Floyd County arrests went to the Floyd County Detention Center.
“Many of these cases utilized information provided by citizens to our drug tip line,” Weddington noted. “These investigations will continue and additional arrests can be expected.”
At least 30 people had been arrested as of 2 p.m. Friday. They include:
• Rodney Akers, Mouthcard (Pike County).
• Jack Belcher, age 45, Widows Branch Road, Stopover (Pike County), trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces.
• Vicki Blackburn, Pikeville (Pike County).
• Robert M. Blanton, age 31, Broadway Street, Salyersville (Magoffin County) first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Dwayne Coleman, Robinson Creek (Pike County).
• Casey Collier, Pikeville (Pike County).
• Carol Faye Collins, age 44, Elk Creek Road, Salyersville (Magoffin County), first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Marvin Collins, age 28, Anderson Branch, Shelby Gap (Pike County), second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Howard F. Conn Sr., Millers Creek (Pike County).
• Howard F. Conn Jr., Millers Creek (Pike County).
• Tammy Conn, Millers Creek (Pike County).
• Bradley D. Daugherty, age 23, Harold (Floyd County), cultivating marijuana more than 5 plants.
• Oscar M. Fannin Jr., age 41, Inez (Martin County), second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and trafficking within 1,000 yards of a school.
• Donald Fletcher, age 45, Royalton (Magoffin County), forgery of a prescription and criminal possession of a forged prescription.
• John R. Hall, Hurricane Creek, Pikeville (Pike County).
• Terry Eugene Hall, age 37, Slade Branch, Paintsville (Johnson County), first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Tommy Hall, Robinson Creek (Pike County).
• Melvin Scott “Scottie” Huff, age 34, Cracker Bottom Road, Martin (Floyd County), second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Donna Huffman, Robinson Creek (Pike County).
• Donnie Kinder, Mouthcard (Pike County)..
•Joan Little, Elkhorn City (Pike County).
• Joyce Maynard, age 55, Maria Branch, Jamboree (Pike County), two counts trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces.
• Jeff Montgomery, Flatwoods Branch, Van Lear (Johnson County).
• Chris O’Connell, age 41, Route 378, Salyersville (Magoffin County), possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Danny Puckett, age 47, Flint Branch Road, Salyersville (Magoffin County), first-degree possession of a controlled substance and third-degree possession of a controlled substance.
• Stanley Risner, Old Elam Road, West Liberty (Morgan County)
• Ricky Rowe, Hi Hat (Floyd County).
• Heather Shortridge, Mouthcard (Pike County).
• Billy Thompson, Betsy Lane (Floyd County).
• Thelma Wolford, age 68, Blankenship Road, Stopover (Pike County), trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces.
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Drug dealer faces long prison sentence

SALYERSVILLE – A Magoffin County drug dealer with a long criminal history will likely spend most of his life behind bars.
A jury convicted 31-year-old Benji Manns, of Coal Branch Road, Salyersville, on three counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and on three counts of being a first-degree persistent felony offender following a two-day trial July 24-25.
While jury members recommended sentences of 10, 10 and 13 years for the trafficking charges, they could not agree on how much time to recommend for the persistent felony offender charges. Special Circuit Judge JoAnn Coleman then asked UNITE Prosecutor David Jorjani and defense attorney Lance Daniels to file briefs supporting their arguments for sentencing.
On Wednesday, August 23, Judge Coleman stated that she intended to impose the minimum of 20 years on each conviction, but “agreed with UNITE’s position and will order the sentences to run consecutively – for a total of 60 years,” Jorjani said.
The sentences for being a persistent felony offender will supercede the trafficking recommendations.
Formal sentencing for Manns is scheduled for Friday, September 15.
According to Lee Weddington, manager of UNITE’s Big Sandy Drug Task Force, Manns sold a UNITE detective a quantity of OxyContin and Hydromorphone pills on February 9, 2005, and three 30mg pills of Morphine on February 23, 2005.
Manns was arrested by Operation UNITE detectives during a drug round-up of 47 suspected dealers on July 1, 2005.
Jorjani said Manns’ criminal history includes convictions for burglary, attempted escape and drug trafficking, plus an “extensive” misdemeanor record.


Constable candidate charged with growing marijuana, impersonating an officer

FRENCHBURG – A man seeking to become constable for the Mariba District of Menifee County has been arrested on drug and other charges.
Timothy H. Prater, 46, of Myers Fork Road, Frenchburg, was charged by Operation UNITE with cultivating marijuana more than five plants on Thursday, August 17.
Prater also faces charges of impersonating a peace officer, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, improper use of blue lights and siren, DUI, open container in a vehicle, and no insurance placed by the Menifee County Sheriff’s Office.
Around 12:30 p.m. sheriff’s deputies went to Myers Fork Road to investigate a complaint of a person pulling over vehicles and asking for their license. According to the arrest citation, Prater was using his personal vehicle that had been equipped with blue lights.
An undercover police officer drove past Prater’s residence and spun his tires, causing Prater to get in his 1991 Dodge and make a traffic stop using blue lights and a siren, the citation stated.
When Prater approached the undercover officers and asked for registration and operator’s license they asked him if he was a police officer, to which he responded that he was. At this point he was placed under arrest.
Prater “had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage” and an open container of beer was found in the vehicle, according to the citation.
A search of the car found an Astra 9 mm pistol between the front seats, a blue cooler containing 21 cold beers, and a bottle of Hydrocodone pills.
Operation UNITE detectives went to Prater’s home about 5 p.m. where they found 11 marijuana plants.
The U.S. Forest Service also assisted with this investigation.
Prater was lodged in the Montgomery County Regional Jail.


Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

PINEVILLE – A former Harlan County resident faces drug trafficking charges following a traffic stop by Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement officers in Bell County.
David Eugene Wynn, age 55, of Montgomery Street in Louisville, was arrested by Operation UNITE detectives about 2 p.m. Thursday, August 10.
KVE Sgt. Ken Hightower and Officer Rocky Johnson had received a tip about Wynn and stopped his 2003 Ford Mustang on U.S. 119 in Pineville.
A search of Wynn and his vehicle uncovered 26 40mg OxyContin pills plus three one-half and six one-quarter pieces of 80mg OxyContin pills. In addition, $1,330 in cash was recovered.
Wynn was charged with three counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and lodged in the Bell County Detention Center.
Wynn has other drug trafficking charges pending from a search warrant served by UNITE on May 18, 2006, during which drugs and guns were found.


New UNITE Drug Diversion Unit seeks 29 suspects in specialized round-up

SOMERSET – Law enforcement officers from across the Fifth Congressional District joined Operation UNITE on Monday, August 7, in an attempt to arrest 29 individuals from 12 southern and eastern Kentucky counties on drug-related charges.
The sweep follows on-going investigations by UNITE dating back to early 2005 and reflects the on-going efforts of a new six-person Drug Diversion Unit. An additional 15 people have previously been charged as a result of the unit’s investigations.
Those sought in the round-up are believed to be responsible for illegally obtaining between 15,000 and 20,000 pills during the past year, according to detectives who worked the cases.
Individuals sought Monday reside in Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Jackson, Laurel, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Perry, Pike, Wayne and Whitley counties. Previous arrests have been made for individuals living in Jackson, Laurel, McCreary, Owsley and Pulaski counties.
As of 3 p.m. Monday police had located 13 of the suspects.
Natasha Boone, age 20, Laurel Avenue, London (Laurel County), unlawful possession of meth precursors. Lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.
Christine Clark, age 36, Osborne Fork Road, Thousand Sticks (Leslie County), first-degree unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance. Lodged in the Perry County Detention Center.
• Donnie Grubb, age 25, Highway 26, Williamsburg (Whitley County), forgery of a prescription. Grubb is currently at the Bell Forestry Camp and will be served with the arrest warrant there.
• Kevin Haddix, 29, Highway 30 East, Jackson (Breathitt County), first-degree unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance. Lodged in the Perry County Detention Center.
Jacob Henson Jr., age 40, Old Quicksand Road, Jackson (Breathitt County), first-degree unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance. Lodged in the Perry County Detention Center.
Robert Dale Jackson, age  44, Boring Drive, London (Laurel County), first-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.
• Terri Johnston, age 46, Highway 30 West, Tyner (Jackson County), unlawful possession of meth precursors. Lodged in the Jackson County Detention Center.
• Jackie Owe Litterell, age 45, Copperhead Road, Ermine (Letcher County), first-degree unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance. Lodged in the Letcher County Detention Center.
Edwin D. Morgan, age 33, Highway 421, Hyden (Leslie County), two counts first-degree unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance. Lodged in the Perry County Detention Center.
Cynthia Mullins, age 38, Laurel Avenue, London (Laurel County), unlawful possession of meth precursors. Lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.
• Maurice Ploufee, age 64, Boggs Hollow Road, Pound, Virginia, first-degree unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance. (Arrested at the federal probation office in Pikeville.) Lodged in the Pike County Detention Center.
Amy Smith, age 23, Spicer Drive, Whick (Breathitt County) first-degree unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance. Lodged in the Perry County Detention Center.
Georgia Stopher, age 33, Westerfield Road, London (Laurel County), trafficking in a Legend Drug. Lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.
Pharmaceutical Diversion
“The term ‘drug diversion’ is used to describe any activity where legitimately-manufactured controlled substances are diverted from their lawful purpose into the illicit drug trade,” said Karen Engle, executive director of UNITE. “These cases are often difficult to investigate and require a lot of time and dedication to collect enough evidence for prosecution.”
UNITE’s team of detectives concentrate on four specific areas of drug diversion:
• Individuals who obtain legal prescriptions but choose to sell all or part of their medication.
• Individuals who obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors -- a practice known as “doctor shopping.”
• Inspecting pharmacy records to ensure compliance with regulations to log pseudoephedrine, ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine purchases correctly.
• Strict enforcement of the 9 grams per person within a 30-day period limitation placed on the sale or transfer of pills or capsules containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine in order to curb methamphetamine production in the region.
“In Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District, Operation UNITE is working with state and federal agencies to combat this diversion problem by utilizing the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system and new reporting requirements regulating Internet pharmacies as a result of Senate Bill 63,” Engle said.
“KASPER has been a tremendous tool to track drug purchases by an individual in multiple counties,” noted Brian Lewis, who has worked as a diversion detective for nearly two years. “Our efforts have also been greatly assisted by the excellent cooperation from doctors and pharmacists throughout the region.”
Stolen prescription pad
Seven of the cases from Monday are all related to the theft of a prescription pad stolen from a dentist’s office in Winchester (Clark County) during January 2006.
“That person brought the prescription pad back to Breathitt County and passed them out to individuals who then wrote prescriptions illegally,” said Mike Luttrell, manager of UNITE’s Kentucky River Drug Task Force. “These prescriptions were taken to at least seven pharmacies in four counties to be filled. Some pharmacies did not take them, others took them and notified police.”
A tip from the Jackson Police Department about a possible forged prescription alerted UNITE to this scheme.
Kevin Haddix, Jacob Henson Jr. and Amy Smith were involved with this scheme, Luttrell said, noting the other four Breathitt County residents could not immediately be located Monday.
Leslie County ring
Three Leslie County residents will face charges in connection to a prescription drug fraud scheme.
Edwin D. Morgan presented forged prescriptions for Methadone and Endocet at pharmacies in Perry County in December 2005.
Christine Clark and a third suspect picked up prescriptions for Hydrocodone at a Perry County pharmacy in March 2006. These prescriptions were called in by someone pretending to be from a doctor’s office and were not legitimate, detectives said.
“We believe these three individuals, plus others who are still under investigation, are responsible for fraudulently obtaining in excess of 10,000 pills during the past year,” Luttrell said. “Additional charges are expected in this case.”
Internet shopping
At least three of the cases involve individuals who violated contracts with pain clinics by purchasing Hydrocodone from an Internet pharmacy based in Florida.
Arrested in connection with this investigation were Maurice Ploufee and Jackie Owe Litterell. One additional person is still wanted, and additional arrests are anticipated.
“For at least a year these individuals were each obtaining between 150 and 200 pills per month,” Luttrell said. “Most of these were cash transactions and their physicians were not aware of the illegal purchases.”
Other cases
Those individuals charged with unlawful possession of meth precursors violated the new 9 grams per month limit purchase of products containing pseudoephedrine.
Cases against individuals still being sought include forgery of a prescription, doctor shopping, and providing false information to Internet pharmacies in order to purchase medications.
Members of the London Police Department, Laurel County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Manchester Police Department, Jackson Police Department, Breathitt County Sheriff’s Office, Whitesburg Police Department, and Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard assisted with arrests on Monday. The Hazard Police Department, Leslie County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky Office of the Inspector General assisted during the investigations.


Baker, son plead guilty to federal drug charges

LEXINGTON – A Breathitt County man who spent two months on the run from law enforcement officers, while publicly proclaiming his innocence through the media, entered guilty pleas to federal drug charges in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, August 9.
Eddie Arnold Baker Sr. pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute OxyContin and the distribution of OxyContin, one count of a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as two forfeiture counts, announced Amul R. Thapar, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Baker’s son, Eddie Arnold Baker Jr., also pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute OxyContin and the distribution of OxyContin, and one forfeiture count.
The pleas were entered before the Honorable Chief Judge Joseph M. Hood.
As stated in the plea agreements, the United States has agreed to a sentence of 144 months for Baker Sr. and 60 months for Baker Jr.
Both defendants are currently scheduled to appear for sentencing before the United States District Court in Lexington on December 4 at 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. respectively.
Joining Thapar in announcing the pleas were Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration; Paul J. Vido, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (Louisville Field Division); Karen Engle, Executive Director, Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (UNITE); and John (Jack) Adams, Commissioner, Kentucky State Police.
“The Bakers illegal drug activity has had a negative impact on the lives and families of many citizens throughout Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” Engle said. “It is gratifying to know these men will no longer be able to engage in their destructive drug-dealing.”
The Baker case has drawn statewide attention since Operation UNITE attempted to serve a search warrant at his Strongs Branch Road home in the Barwick Community on Thursday, January 19.
As law enforcement officers pulled into his driveway they observed him making a drug transaction from his truck. Baker immediately attempted to flee by driving his Chevrolet pickup truck through a field toward his son’s home at a high rate of speed. Several officers fired shots at the truck after he attempted to run over them.
Baker eventually abandoned his truck after it became stuck in a creek and fled into the woods.
A search of Baker’s truck, home and property uncovered 1,621 OxyContin pills with a street value of approximately $132,000, three stolen four-wheelers, approximately $20,000 in stolen building materials, and $7,432 in cash. On January 30, after police received an anonymous tip, police recovered 200 assorted pills – including OxyContin, Hydrocodone and Valium – plus $10,000 in cash from a hidden compartment behind the radio.
For more than two months, Baker taunted police with video tapes sent to regional television stations and even gave several interviews to newspaper reporters. He continually proclaimed his innocence and said he would not turn himself in to authorities.
On March 22, troopers from Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard spotted Baker near a neighbor’s trailer and chased him into the woods where he was arrested. At the time police found a large amount of cash, ammunition and a gun.
“The only thing UNITE has wanted was for Mr. Baker to have his day in court,” said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for UNITE. “We always knew the facts would stand for themselves, and today he has pled guilty. Justice has been served.”


Jury convicts Leslie drug dealer; 2 plead guilty

HYDEN – A Rockhouse man was found guilty of drug trafficking by a Leslie County jury Thursday, August 10. In addition, two other men pled guilty to drug trafficking charges.
Jury members recommended that 64-year-old
Doug Feltner, of Puncheon Camp Road, serve a five-year prison term for first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Both 31-year-old
Dana Hill and 24-year-old David Miller face five-year jail terms for first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, however their sentences will be probated if they complete a Drug Court program.
Circuit Judge Cletus Maricle set final sentencing for all three men for Wednesday, October 4. All three were taken to the Clay County Detention Center following their court appearances.
Feltner was arrested in October 2004 during a drug round-up by Operation UNITE. According to testimony during the four-hour trial, Feltner sold an undercover UNITE detective a 40 mg OxyContin pill for $50 on July 26, 2004.
Prosecuting the case was Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ritchie Couch.
Hill, of Highway 421 in the Stinnett community, and Miller, of Mulberry Lane in the Big Branch community, were also arrested as part of the October 2004 UNITE round-up. Both men originally faced multiple charges of trafficking in a controlled substance for selling OxyContin pills, but agreed to plead guilty to one count.


Lee County drug trafficker is found GUILTY in Federal Court

LEXINGTON--A Lee County man is found guilty of drug trafficking charges by a Federal Jury.
Jerry Spencer, age 63, of the Zoe community, Lee County, Kentucky was found guilty by a Federal Jury in the United States District Court in Lexington, Kentucky of seven separate counts of trafficking drugs, which
included oxycontin, hydrocodone, methadone, tylox, xanex, and marijuana, as well as one count of possessing firearms illegally by being a convicted felon.  The Jury returned it's verdict after a two day trial before United States District Judge Karl Forester.
This case was originally opened by UNITE Detectives in 2005.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives worked with Operation UNITE as a part of their operation titled Project Cease Fire. 
Jerry Spencer is facing the minimum of 15 years in a Federal Prison, and the maximum sentence of life in prison.  Jerry Spencer is scheduled to appear for sentencing before the United States District Court in Lexington, Kentucky on November 17, 2006 at 10:30am.


Perry County marijuana trafficker is found Guilty in Federal Court

LONDON  A Perry County man is found guilty by a federal jury.
Martin Coots, age 45, of Leatherwood, Perry County, Kentucky was found guilty by a Federal Jury in United States District Court in London, Kentucky of Manufacturing over 1,000 plants of marijuana, distributing,
and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana, and being a convicted felon in possession of four firearms.  The Jury returned it's verdict after a two day trial before United States District Judge Karen
K. Caldwell.
This case was originally opened by UNITE Detectives in 2005.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives worked with Operation UNITE with this case as a part of their operation titled Project Cease Fire.
Martin Coots is facing up to a two million dollar fine, and Judge Caldwell can sentence Coots to a minimum of 15 years in prison with the maximum sentence of life in prison. Martin Coots is scheduled to appear for sentencing before the United States District Court in London, Kentucky on November 16, 2006 at 10am.


More than 3 dozen sought on drug charges

SALYERSVILLE – Fourteen people have been arrested and indictment warrants for an additional 25 people are still pending following a lengthy undercover investigation by Operation UNITE.
Detectives from UNITE’s Big Sandy Task Force began making arrests on Monday, July 10, and will continue to search for suspects throughout the month, said Lee Weddington, task force manger.
Most of the indictments resulted from search warrants obtained following undercover buys of OxyContin, other prescription pills, and marijuana, Weddington said, adding the cases have been developed since the fall of 2005.
Those arrested were lodged in the Big Sandy Detention Center.
Charged as Thursday, July 13, are:
• Jamie Renee Bailey, 28, Route 378, Salyersville, forgery of a prescription, criminal possession of a forged prescription, and persistent felony offender.
• Willetta Bailey, 46, Elk Creek Road, Salyersville, trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces (second offense), possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts endangering the welfare of a minor.
• Timothy Barnett, 28, Limestone Branch, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Mack Brown, 46, Route 114, Salyersville, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, second-degree possession of a controlled substance, and third-degree possession of a controlled substance.
• Angle Ginter, 41, Elam Street, Salyersville, cultivating marijuana less than 5 plants, possession of drug paraphernalia, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and prescription drugs not in original container.
• Benji Manns, 31, Salyersville, persistent felony offender.
• Debra R. Manns, 28, Rock House Road, Salyersville, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, and trafficking in a Legend Drug.
• Crystal Ann Salyer McNew, 28, Patrick Drive, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, and theft by unlawful taking.
• Bridgette McGuire Miller, 42, Kelly Branch, Salyersville, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• James Matthew McGuire, 40, Kelly Branch, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Doyle Patrick, 36, Mash Fork Road, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and persistent felony offender.
• Tony Rowe, 31, Coal Branch Road, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Jim Curtis Wallen, 31, Bailey Branch, Salyersville, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Wilbur Wallen, 43, Bailey Branch, Salyersville, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.


July Jam Festival June 22, 2006

July Jam is a two-day, Christian Rock Music Event that will be coming to Pikeville, KY on July 21st & 22nd.  This event includes a skateboard/BMX competition and prizes that include college scholarships to Georgetown College.
July Jam will begin on Friday night July 21st, at 8:00pm in the Pikeville City Park. Local bands and “The Lads,” will perform Christian Rock Music.  SouthEast Telephone will be cooking hotdogs and Coca Cola is providing the drinks.  Bring your lawn chair and enjoy this free evening of music and refreshments.
On July 22nd, July Jam will kick off with a Skateboard/BMX competition in the Pikeville City Park at 3:00pm.  Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place categories, with the winners receiving a new skateboard or BMX  bike.  At 6:00pm, the event moves into the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center for a concert that includes the following bands: Hawk Nelson; Seventh Day Slumber; Falling Up; The Lads & The Orville Project.  Prizes, including college scholarships, will be given!
Tickets are $7:00 for one; two for $10.00 and $4.00 each for a group of 20 or more.  Go to www.julyjam.com or call 606-444-4201 for more details including the bands, scholarship criteria, tickets & directions to the event.  
July Jam is being sponsored by McDonald’s of Eastern KY, WYMT, East KY Broadcasting, Citizens National Bank, Glenn Martin Law Offices, UNITE Pike and Operation UNITE.  Plan to attend this drug-free event for our youth and get your tickets today!


UNITE detectives receive tactical training
HAZARD -- Operation UNITE detectives recently completed a two-day class on skills that could prevent them from harm during undercover narcotics investigations.
The training, titled “Street Tactics,” was taught by lead instructors Scott Barker and Joel Cunigan. Barker is a retired FBI agent, who is currently deputy director for the Rural Law Enforcement Training Center in Hazard. Cunigan is manager of UNITE’s Cumberland Drug Task Force.
The instructor’s covered topics concerning the process of determining appropriate force for given situations, proper use of equipment, handcuffing techniques, search techniques, and how to evacuate a downed officer.
“This training is essential to these detectives who are out risking their lives on a daily basis trying to make Eastern Kentucky a safer place for all of us to live,” Barker noted.
A gripping evaluation comment that best sums this two day training was made by one of the UNITE detectives. “I am convinced that this training will save my life.”


Meth-maker pleads guilty; 25 years recommended

SOMERSET – A Somerset man may have to spend the next 25 years in prison for manufacturing methamphetamine.
Adam Carman, 35, pled guilty to manufacture of methamphetamine and second-degree persistent felony offender in Pulaski Circuit Court on Thursday, June 29, according to Eddy F. Montgomery, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pulaski, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties. Carman had been scheduled for a jury trial on July 19.
In May 2005, detectives discovered portions of a methamphetamine laboratory at a residence on Pumphouse Road in Pulaski County, according to UNITE Prosecutor David L. Dalton. A search of the residence also uncovered actual methamphetamine and Clonazepam pills.
During an interview, Carman admitted that he had been cooking at the residence regularly, Dalton said, adding that another person would supply some of the materials used to make the methamphetamine in return for some of the finished product.
Carman was producing methamphetamine using the red phosphorous (or “Red P”) method, Dalton said, adding this is a very dangerous process that creates both phosphine gas (commonly used for pest control by fumigation) that can easily kill at relatively low concentrations and HCL gas that is toxic to the lungs and mucous membrane.
Carman was indicted in March 2006 for manufacture of methamphetamine and being a persistent felony offender. He has previously been convicted of trafficking in methamphetamine and marijuana; facilitation to manufacture methamphetamine; complicity to possession of controlled substances; and criminal possession of forged instruments.  These felony convictions cover a five-year period stretching from Kenton to Pulaski counties.
Following his plea of guilty, Pulaski Circuit Judge David Tapp set final sentencing for July 27. Dalton indicated that he would recommend a sentence of 25 years imprisonment upon the plea of guilty. Montgomery stated that the 25-year sentence reflects the dangerous nature of methamphetamine laboratories and the serious criminal history of this defendant. He thanked Operation UNITE for funding the prosecutor’s initiative, which assisted in the prosecution of this case.
Judge Tapp remanded Carman into custody pending final sentencing.

MethLab#1         MethLab#2

Children present at meth lab operation

SADLER -- One man was arrested and two children were turned over to protective custody following the discovery of an active methamphetamine lab on Thursday, June 22.
Gregory Scott Davidson, age 39, of the Sadler community in Clay County, was charged by Operation UNITE with one count of manufacturing methamphetamine, one count fourth-degree controlled substance endangerment to a child, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine), and resisting arrest.
The arrest resulted from an investigation stemming from complaints made to UNITE’s Drug Tip Line as well as from Owsley County Sheriff Kelly Shouse.
On Thursday, UNITE detectives, along with the Kentucky State Police, went to the suspected meth lab location at the Lower Sadler Cemetery in Clay County, located near the Owsley County line. There they found materials indicating a large amount of methamphetamine was being produced.
At the time of the visit there was a 16-year-old and a 1-year-old at the scene. Clay County Protection and Permanency was contacted to ensure their safety. The children were taken to be checked out as part of the new Drug Endangered Child Network response plan.
Davidson struggled with detectives as they were placing him under arrest, leading to the resisting arrest charge. A subsequent search resulted in the discovery of approximately 2.5 grams of what is believed to be cocaine.
The methamphetamine lab was properly disposed of by the UNITE detectives.
“This investigation was a true testament to what can happen when everyone in a community works together,” said Joel Cunigan, manager of UNITE’s Cumberland Drug Task Force. “Operation UNITE would like to thank the following for their involvement in this drug investigation: The Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, Manchester Police Dispatch Center, the Clay County Protection and Permanency Department, and the citizen's who have given these officer's the tips they need to keep these dangerous drugs out of your communities.”
Davidson was lodged into the Clay County Detention Center.

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Large marijuana patch discovered

CAMPTON – A large crop of marijuana plants was discovered growing behind a Wolfe County residence on Thursday, June 22.
Detectives from Operation UNITE, acting upon information received through a tip, obtained a search warrant for the property of 29-year-old James Patrick on Harvest Ridge Road.
At about 2 p.m., detectives from the Kentucky River and Big Sandy Drug Task Forces and officers from the U.S. Forest Service executed the warrant at the home, located about two and one-half miles from Campton.
In a field behind the home police discovered 235 marijuana plants ranging in size from about 1 foot to 4 feet tall, said Mike Luttrell, manager of the Kentucky River Task Force. All the plants were cut down and will be destroyed.
While at the residence detectives also found a small bag of processed marijuana, 2 Lortab and 37 Xanax pills.
No arrests were made on Thursday. The investigation is continuing and the case is expected to be presented to a federal grand jury for possible indictment.


Basketball Goal Winners

Mason Smith, 14, of London,
Amber Sampsell, 6, of Busy, and Taleah Jones of Hazard
Kelby Wolfe, 9, of Williamsburg
Tyler Brummett, 14, of Williamsburg
were the four lucky winners of a portable basketball goal at Operation UNITE¹s Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball Camp with Jeff Sheppard on Thursday, June 15. Smith, Wolfe, Brummet,  was among 175 youth to participate in the free camp at Whitley County High School, the fourth of seven planned camps in the Fifth Congressional District during June. Participants represented five Kentucky counties ­ Whitley, Laurel,
Knox, Pulaski and Wayne ­ plus Tennessee, Georgia, and West Virginia. Thirty-two volunteers assisted with the camp. The ball goals were purchased through donations from the Wal-Mart Corporation and Nami Resources. All youth received a special basketball courtesy of the Senture Corporation and an event T-shirt. For pictures from the camp, more information about future camps, or Operation UNITE in general visit www.operationunite.org
<http://www.operationunite.org> or call 1-866-OP-UNITE (1-866-678-6483).


Rockcastle County fugitive arrested

MONTICELLO -- A Rockcastle County woman wanted by Operation UNITE was arrested Monday, June 12 in Wayne County.
Loretta Whitaker, 38, of Lime Plain Hollow Road in the Pine Hill community of Rockcastle County, was served with an indictment warrant for three counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and three counts first-degree persistent felony offender.
Whitaker was served with the warrant at the Wayne County Detention Center where she was being held on unrelated charges brought by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
The UNITE charges stem from an undercover investigation that lasted approximately 8 months and involved UNITE, the DEA, Kentucky State Police and Rockcastle County Sheriff’s Office.


Five arrested on drug trafficking charges

PRESTONSBURG – Five people have been arrested on drug-trafficking indictment warrants following an undercover investigation conducted by Operation UNITE in Floyd County.
Two of the suspects were taken into custody on Friday, June 9, after showing up together in Floyd County Circuit Court on a separate UNITE drug case. The other three individuals were arrested by detectives on Tuesday, June 13.
According to Lee Weddington, manager of UNITE’s Big Sandy Drug Task Force, all five suspects sold or had in their possession a variety of prescription drugs during the investigation that began in October 2005.
Assisting three UNITE detectives with the arrests on Tuesday were officers from the Martin Police Department and Floyd County Sheriff’s Office.
On Friday, 20-year-old
Robin Minix, who has listed addresses of Hillside Drive in Prestonsburg and Boones Creek in Stanton, appeared in Floyd Circuit Court related to a first-degree possession of a controlled substance charge levied by UNITE detectives in December 2005. She had been sought since a Thanksgiving week roundup.
At the time, Minix was a passenger in a car driven by
Brenda Jane Goble, 27, of Corn Fork Road in Prestonsburg. Prestonsburg Police had stopped Goble’s vehicle on Route 321 and charged her with driving under the influence. A search of the car recovered more than 340 prescription pills.
Minix faces six new charges: two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, one count second-degree possession of a controlled substance, two counts third-degree possession of a controlled substance, and one count of prescription drugs not in original container.
Goble, who was taken into custody after bringing Minix to court, faces the same six charges.
On Tuesday, police arrested 42-year-old
Barbara Hicks at her home on Webb Street in Garrett and charged her with two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, one count first-degree possession of a controlled substance, two counts third-degree possession of a controlled substance, and one count of prescription drugs not in proper container.
Several hours later, Hicks’ husband, 46-year-old
Jasper Hicks, turned himself in to police. He is charged with two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, one count first-degree possession of a controlled substance, two counts third-degree possession of a controlled substance, and one count of prescription drugs not in original container.
Ronald Stone, age 68, of Grigsby Heights in Martin, was arrested at a separate residence and charged with four counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and one count prescription drugs not in original container.
All five individuals were lodged in the Floyd County Detention Center.


3 Harlan youth win basketball goals
Three Harlan County youth were lucky winners of portable basketball goals at Operation UNITE’s Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camp with Jeff Sheppard on Tuesday, June 13. Pictured from left are 4-year-old Jordan Steele of Evarts, 6-year-old A.J. Teagle of Evarts, and 8-year-old Charlie Smith of Harlan. The boys were among 96 youth from two Kentucky counties, Tennessee and West Virginia to participate in the free camp at Cawood High School, the third of seven planned camps for the Fifth Congressional District during June. Two of the ball goals were purchased through a donation from the Wal-Mart Corporation and the third was provided by the Harlan County UNITE Coalition. All youth received a special basketball courtesy of the Senture Corporation and an event T-shirt. For more pictures, information about other camps or about Operation UNITE visit www.operationunite.org or call 1-866-OP-UNITE (1-866-678-6483).

Two more arrested in Johnson County

PAINTSVILLE – A man wanted as part of a drug investigation in Johnson County faces additional charges following his arrest on Tuesday, May 30.
Doug Music, age 50, of Route 1100 in East Point, was one of two suspects arrested on indictment warrants stemming from a months-long investigation by Operation UNITE.
Also arrested Tuesday was 44-year-old
Donna Joann Church of Nelson Branch Road in Ulysses.
UNITE detectives went to Music’s home to serve an arrest warrant charging him with first- and third-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana. A search conducted at the residence uncovered approximately 2 ounces of marijuana and more drug paraphernalia, said Lee Weddington, manager of UNITE’s Big Sandy Drug Task Force, noting additional charges will be filed.
Church faces three counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and two counts of trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces.
Both suspects were lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.
With Tuesday’s arrests, law enforcement officials have not charged eight of 13 people indicted by the Johnson County Grand Jury on May 18 from an investigation dating back to last fall.
UNITE detectives, assisted by the Paintsville Police Department and Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, began serving the arrest warrants on May 23.


13 sought in Johnson drug round-up

May 23 has special significance for one Johnson County resident, but it’s a date he would just as soon forget.
On Tuesday, May 23,
Thornton Jackson Watts Jr. was arrested on a drug trafficking charge – one year to the day after he was picked up in another Operation UNITE drug round-up.
The 25-year-old Watts, of Watts Branch in River, was serving time in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center on the 2005 charge when he was served with an indictment warrants for one count of second-degree conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance and with being a persistent felony offender.
Lee Weddington, manager of UNITE’s Big Sandy Drug Task Force, said Watts was picked up as part of a drug round-up in Lawrence County on May 23, 2005. He had been out of jail when he was caught during the latest investigation, which began this past fall.
A total of 13 people were indicted by the Johnson County Grand Jury on May 18 as a result of UNITE’s investigation.
UNITE detectives, assisted by the Paintsville Police Department and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, began arresting suspects Tuesday night. As of Friday at noon six individuals had been located.
Weddington said most of the cases involved illegal possession or sale of prescription pills, although detectives did uncover one methamphetamine lab and seized meth on several individuals.
This is the second round of drug indictments brought by UNITE in Johnson County. Twenty-one suspects were sought in the first round-up in August 2004.
In addition to Watts, those arrested were:
Teresa (Fitch) Bailey, age 22, of Martin Childers Drive, Thelma, trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.
Lecia M. Baldwin, age 37, of Second Street, Paintsville, one count each of first-degree, second-degree and third-degree possession of a controlled substance.
William J. Gwinn, age 42, Cannel Lane, Hager Hill, manufacturing methamphetamine, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, second-degree possession of a controlled substance, and persistent felony offender.
• Loretta Moore, age 41, of Perry Vanhoose Appartments in Wittensville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Tracy Lynn Porter, age 29, River View Apartments, Thelma, two counts second-degree conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance.
Those arrested were lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.


Four sentenced on drug charges
SOMERSET – Four Pulaski County residents were sentenced on drug charges Thursday, May 25.
Stephen Hampton, 38, of Somerset, was sentenced to three years imprisonment for second-degree trafficking in a controlled substances.
In May 2005, confidential witnesses for Operation UNITE purchased Oxycodone from Hampton. The next month Hampton again sold Oxycodone, this time to a confidential witness from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.
At sentencing, Hampton asked Pulaski Circuit Judge David Tapp for probation. UNITE Prosecutor David L. Dalton objected, noting that leniency had already been shown to Hampton with just a three-year sentence. Noting the severity of the charges, Judge Tapp denied the motion for probation and remanded Hampton into custody.
Scott Canada, 29, of Science Hill, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
In September 2005, a confidential witness purchased Hydrocodone from Canada at his residence at the Circle J. Trailer park in Bronston.
At sentencing, Dalton reminded the court that Canada committed this offense while on parole for prior felony convictions. Judge Tapp then ordered the two-year sentence to run consecutive to Canada’s prior convictions, for a total of nine years imprisonment.
James Davis, 25, of Somerset, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and third-degree burglary.
In April 2005, undercover detectives from Operation UNITE purchased Hydrocodone and marijuana from Davis. In addition, in June 2005 Davis participated in the burglary of property belonging to the Somerset Independent School System.
At sentencing, Davis requested a probated sentencing. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeremy Bartley objected, stating that the marijuana charge originated near school property. Bartley argued that the school burglary and the dealing of marijuana near school property made Davis a danger to the community.
Judge Tapp rejected the request for probation and ordered Davis into custody.
Clifford Thurman, 46, of Bronston, was sentenced to one year imprisonment for trafficking in marijuana, less than 5 pounds.
In October 2005 a search of Thurman’s residence revealed approximately 1 pound, 11 ounces of marijuana (bagged separately); numerous firearms, and more than $3,000 in currency. In addition, the search revealed weighing scales in the same location as some of the marijuana.
After sentencing Thurman to one year imprisonment and ordering him into custody, Judge Tapp set a hearing for June 29 to determine if the cash should be forfeited to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Dalton noted that the seized guns had previously been forfeited.


Lee man arrested on federal drug charges

BEATTYVILLE – A Lee County resident has been arrested on federal drug charges resulting from an undercover investigation by Operation UNITE last summer.
Jerry Sampson Spencer, age 63, of Zoe Post Office Road, was served with a federal indictment warrant on Thursday, May 25, by law enforcement officials from UNITE, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and Beattyville Police Department. Spencer was arrested at his home, located off Highway 11 near the Wolfe County line, without incident.
Mike Luttrell, manger of UNITE’s Kentucky River Drug Task Force, said Spencer was the subject of an undercover investigation conducted in July 2005. The nature and scope of the case resulted in it being adopted for federal prosecution by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
According to the federal indictment, issued from U.S. District Court in Lexington, Spencer faces three counts of distribution of a controlled substance, four counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and one count of a convicted felon being in possession of a firearm.
Spencer is accused of distributing a quantity of Lorcet on July 2, Methadone on July 5, and Tylox with Oxycodone on July 14.
On July 14 Spencer also allegedly possessed quantities of marijuana, OxyContin with Oxycodone, Lorcet with Hydrocodone, and Xanax with Alprazolam. He also had in his possession three shotguns and two .22-caliber rifles.
Following his arrest, Spencer was taken to the Fayette County Detention Center where he will await arraignment before a federal magistrate.


Suspected cocaine trafficking ring uncovered Pike father, son target of investigation

STOPOVER – A large amount of suspected cocaine was recovered after police executed three search warrants on property owned by a Pike County father and son.
“We believe they are major cocaine dealers, but no one was arrested Wednesday night,” said Lee Weddington, manager of UNITE’s Big Sandy Drug Task Force. “The suspected cocaine will be sent to the state crime lab and the findings presented to a Pike County Grand Jury for possible indictments. This is not an uncommon practice.”
At approximately 6 p.m., 20 Operation UNITE detectives, four troopers from the Kentucky State Police Pikeville Post, Pike County Sheriff Charles “Fuzzy” Keesee and four of his deputies simultaneously served the search warrants at homes on Widows Branch off KY 194 in the county’s eastern tip.
“UNITE has been conducting a cocaine trafficking investigation on these individuals for approximately five months,” Weddington said. “During this period there were more than a half-dozen purchases of cocaine made, either by our officers or by confidential informants.”
Based upon these purchases, UNITE obtained search warrants for the home of Roy Clifford Blankenship Sr., his son Roy Clifford Blankenship Jr., and a rental home on the son’s property occupied by Christopher Adkins.
“Mr. Adkins is believed to have been actively involved with distributing cocaine for the Blankenships,” Weddington noted.
At the father’s home, police confiscated nearly $35,000 in cash, financial records, a bag containing what appeared to be cocaine residue, and various weapons that he was not supposed to have since he is a convicted felon, Weddington said.
At the son’s home, located about one-quarter mile down the road, police found more than 2 ounces of a white powdery substance in sandwich-size plastic bags, drug paraphernalia including a set of scales, and some cash. Weddington said the cocaine would have a street value between $4,000 and $5,000.
The rental home, located on adjacent property owned by the son, police recovered a bag containing residue of suspected cocaine and approximately 30 assorted pills.
While police were on the scene, two vehicles pulled into the driveway and were searched by the detectives, Weddington said.
While nothing was found in one vehicle, drug paraphernalia and pills were recovered from the second vehicle, occupied by four individuals.
Weddington said one occupant, 25-year-old Ella Michelle Ball of Mountain Road in Cedar Bluff, Virginia, was issued a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia. “These subjects continue to be under investigation and additional charges are pending,” he noted.


5 of 7 sought in Knott round-up arrested

HINDMAN -- Detectives from Operation UNITE, assisted by the Knott County Sheriff's Office, held a seven-person "mini" round-up in Knott County on Friday, May 12.
Five of the seven people sought by police had been served with arrest warrants by late morning.
This round-up was the result of a two-month investigation by Operation UNITE from the Kentucky River Drug Task Force.
In recent months UNITE officials have elected to use smaller round-ups. Arresting a large number of people at one time was putting a strain on both the court system and local jails, said Mike Luttrell, task force manager.
“Operation UNITE believes that by holding these smaller round-ups, they can still effectively take drug dealers and pushers off of the streets,” Luttrell noted.
Those arrested in Friday’s round-up were:
Edgel D. Hall, age 46, of Highway 7 in the Kite community, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Mark Edward Hall, age 21, of Trace Fork in the Pippa Passes community, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Robin Jent Messer, age 31, of West Highway 550 in the Carrie community, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Denver “Buddy” Patrick, age 31, of Babe Bolen Drive, Garrett, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Jamie Staley, age 29, of Babe Bolen Drive, Garrett, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Those arrested were taken to the Perry County Detention Center in Hazard by the Knott County Sheriff’s Office.


Lifeline training offered in Lawrence Co.

LOUISA -- A Living Free training to teach individuals how to be facilitators for Lifeline groups will be held on Saturday, June 17, in Lawrence County.
This training will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second floor of the Lawrence County Courthouse in Louisa. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
There is no cost to attend, however a manual to accompany the training is recommended and will be available for $15.
This faith-based after-care program is sponsored by the Lawrence County SAVE (Stopping Addiction through Values Education), the Lawrence County Champions/UNITE Coalition, and Lifeline of Eastern Kentucky.
Lifeline of Eastern Kentucky is a ministry of Teen Challenge International. Lifeline offers nonresidential ministry groups designed to reach out to people facing everyday challenges of life that can become overwhelming, such as addiction to alcohol and other drugs, and to provide support for their families by implementing the five components of recovery: decision, positive peer choice, accountability, boundaries and consistency.
These faith-based groups offer a 12-step recovery program to addicts.
For more information or to register for the training contact Lawrence County Attorney Mike Hogan at 606-438-4051 or UNITE Faith-Based Coordinator Joe Farmer at 606-330-1400 or e-mail to jfarmer@centertech.com


Lifeline golf scramble returns to Crooked Creek

LONDON – A golf scramble to benefit Lifeline of Eastern Kentucky will be held on Friday, June 2, at the Crooked Creek Golf Club, in London.
This is the second year for the fundraiser, which is supported by Operation UNITE (Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education). Play will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.
An entry fee of $300 per four-person team (or $75 per player) includes cart and green fee, lunch and gifts. Mulligans and skirts are available. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers, as well as for a closest to the pin contest.
Hole sponsorships are available.
The inaugural event in July 2005 drew 15 teams and raised more than $5,500 for Lifeline activities.
Lifeline is a non-profit crisis intervention support ministry that is breathing hope and new life in people who have life-controlling problems through endeavors to help people become mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well, and spiritually alive. Lifeline offers a life-plan of decision, positive peer culture, accountability, and boundaries.
During the past year, Lifeline has expanded into many counties throughout the Fifth Congressional District as anti-drug coalitions recognize the need for after-care treatment options.
For more information about the event call 606-598-8871 or 606-862-9320. An entry form is also available by going to http://www.operationunite.org and following the link: Treatment>After-Care Programs>Lifeline of Eastern Kentucky.


Jury convicts Ohio man on cocaine charges

SOMERSET – An Ohio resident was found guilty of a cocaine trafficking charge by a Pulaski County jury on Monday, May 22.
Keith Fitzpatrick, 45, of Cincinnati, was convicted of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Eddy F. Montgomery, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pulaski, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties.
The case was presented to a jury of 12 Pulaski County citizens by UNITE Prosecutor David L. Dalton.
The jury heard testimony that on the early morning of May 9, 2005, the Somerset Police Department received a tip of drugs being sold from a room at the Budget Inn. When officers arrived they discovered approximately 2 ounces of cocaine; more than $3,800 in cash, and a supply of plastic baggies next to most of the cocaine.
Fitzpatrick told the police that he only sold to his friends and co-workers. He also indicated that he received his drugs from a supplier in Nashville.
According to testimony from trial, Fitzpatrick would meet his supplier between the two cities. Dalton noted to the jury that Somerset is approximately half way from Nashville and Cincinnati.
Following closing statements, the jury deliberated for approximately 30 minutes before finding Fitzpatrick guilty of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following another 20 minutes of deliberation, the jury recommended the punishment at 7 years imprisonment for trafficking and fined him $500 for the misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charge.
Pulaski Circuit Judge Jeffrey T. Burdette remanded Fitzpatrick into custody. Burdette thanked the jury for their service and set final sentencing for June 8 in Pulaski Circuit Court.
Dalton stated he was pleased with the verdict and expressed his thanks to the officers that took time out of their schedule to participate in the trial. He also voiced his thanks to the jury for performing their civic duty and sitting in judgment in this case.
The 7-year sentence was a strong message, Dalton noted, letting the defendant know that his drug trafficking was not welcome in Pulaski County.
Montgomery thanked Dalton for his efforts during this year-long prosecution. Montgomery stated that this case was handled as part of Operation UNITE’s prosecutorial initiative, which provides additional time and resources for the prosecution of drug cases.


Shoot Hoops Not Drugs

Free Jeff Sheppard basketball camp coming to Rockcastle County June 1
MT. VERNON – Operation UNITE will present a free “Shoot Hoops Not Drugs” basketball camp for youth in Rockcastle and surrounding counties on Thursday, June 1.
The program will be held at Mt. Vernon Elementary School beginning at 4 p.m. Pre-registration is not required.
Jeff Sheppard, a highly acclaimed former basketball player at the University of Kentucky, will teach school-age youth fundamental basketball skills while emphasizing the importance for them to stay drug-free.
“We encourage all youth and their families to participate in this special program,” said Karen Engle, executive director of UNITE. “Providing fun, family activities as alternatives to experimenting with drugs is important. We are excited how enthusiastically the Rockcastle community has come together to support this camp.”
Each child participating in the Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camp will receive a limited edition autographed Jeff Sheppard UNITE regulation basketball and a T-shirt. In addition, all participants will be entered into a drawing for portable basketball goals.
In conjunction with the camps, members of the Rockcastle UNITE Coalition will present information on drug abuse awareness, current anti-drug efforts in their area, and hold special fun activities – including an inflatable obstacle course -- to promote family cohesiveness. Hotdogs and drinks will be provided.
The camp is the first of seven regional basketball camps to be conducted this summer in the Fifth Congressional District. Other camps are planned for June 10 in Lee County, June 13 in Harlan County, June 15 in Whitley County, June 19 in Perry County, June 24 in Pike County, and June 27 in Magoffin County.
Thanks to the following sponsors (in alphabetical order) that have contributed to make these camps possible:
GOLD LEVEL ($1,000+) -- Mineral Labs, Mountain Supply Company, Nami Resources, People’s Exchange Bank, Primary Care Centers, Senture, SouthEast Telephone and Wal-Mart Corporation.
SILVER LEVEL ($500-$999) -- Appalachia Regional Healthcare, Ford Brothers Realty, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Pikeville, Rockcastle Hospital and Roy Todd Builders.
BRONZE LEVEL ($100-$499) -- Andy's Honda, BB&T Bank, Cardinal Chevrolet of Hazard, Clay County Clerk Freddy Thompson, Community Trust Bank of Williamsburg, Edward Jones/Bobbie Hahn of Somerset, First Commonwealth Bank, Flav-O-Rich of London, Harlan ARH Hospital, Harvey & Louise Hensley, Huddle House, Jackson Energy, Thomas P. Jones/Attorney and Tim Short Chrysler LLC.
For more information contact UNITE at 1-86-OP-UNITE (1-866-678-6483) or Carlos Cameron at 606-330-1400 or by e-mail at ccameron@centertech.com.


New Drug Treatment Facility

Congressman Rogers to help break ground for region’s newest drug treatment facility
MANCHESTER -- A groundbreaking ceremony for Southeastern Kentucky’s newest drug treatment facility will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 10.
Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers will participate in the official ceremony to formally kick-off construction of Chad’s Hope Center, a men’s residential treatment facility in Clay County.
Chad’s Hope Center will be operated by Visions of Eastern Kentucky, Inc., a non-profit, faith-based organization.
Located in the Burning Springs community of Clay County just outside of Manchester, the facility is expected to open in the summer of 2007 with approximately 50 beds, eventually expanding to 75 beds. Chad’s Hope will utilize both traditional and faith-based treatment programs.
The facility is named for Chad McWhorter, who died of a drug overdose in 2004.
In case of rain the groundbreaking ceremony will be held in the fellowship hall of Manchester Baptist Church.
Directions to site: Take Highway 421 north from Manchester approximately 11 miles. Turn right onto Gum Branch Road (at the Cheveron station). Travel approximately 2 miles and turn left up the gravel lane marked with the sign “Future Site of Chad’s Hope.”
For information about the ceremony contact Clinton Hammack, UNITE’s assistant treatment director, at 606-330-1424.


Harlan UNITE Coalition holds first fund-raiser

HARLAN -- Approximately $2,000 was raised for Operation UNITE anti-drug programs in Harlan County during a candidate’s picnic held Saturday, April 29, at Huff Park.
Despite chilly temperatures, organizers of the event said attendance throughout the afternoon was steady. This was the first fund-raising program conducted by Harlan County UNITE Coalition.
All political candidates were invited to speak briefly to those attending the event, and 34 individuals accepted the offer, said Mary Bruce, Youth Activities Committee chairman for the coalition, noting many of the candidates donated money.
During the stump speeches a silent auction for 10 donated cakes was conducted. Kickball, face painting, sidewalk chalk activities and bubbles were available for the children.
Coalition members served a pulled-pork barbecue sandwich dinner, and live music was performed by members of the James A. Cawood High School band, Cecil Ward and Brandy Ledford.
Between speeches, fliers on becoming a member of the Harlan County UNITE Coalition were distributed and information about upcoming activities, drug prevention and awareness, and the Matthew Casey Wethington for Substance Abuse Intervention Act were explained.
Bruce noted the Coalition is very active in planning events for this summer.
On May 27 a “3-on-3 to Stay Drug-Free” basketball tournament will be held to kick-off the Poke Sallet Festival, a Battle of the Bands event is slated for June, and a Picnic in the Park with a free movie is planned.
The coalition is also actively supporting the local Drug Court program, promoting anti-drug education at the middle school, and supporting the Celebrate Recovery 12-step program.
All citizens, businesses, civic clubs and organizations, medical professionals, schools and government agencies are encouraged to participate in planning and carrying out anti-drug activities in Harlan County by becoming members of the coalition.
The coalition meets at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Professional building, 110 Professional Lane, Suite