MIDDLESBORO – Four Tennessee residents are in federal custody after law enforcement officers intercepted a large load of marijuana meant for Southeastern Kentucky.
A combined investigation by Operation UNITE detectives and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration led to an arranged undercover delivery of processed marijuana at the Wal-Mart store in Middlesboro about 10:45 p.m. Thursday, October 25.
Assisting with the sting were officers from the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, Middlesboro Police Department and Kentucky State Police K-9 Unit.
“Law enforcement officers confiscated 96 pounds of marijuana in Middlesboro,” said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for UNITE. “Further investigation led to the discovery of an additional 230 pounds in a storage unit in Lafollette, Tennessee, early Friday morning.”
“This marijuana was ultimately meant for delivery to Harlan County,” Smoot noted. “Now it will be sent to the KSP Crime Lab in London for analysis.”
Four people were arrested by the DEA and taken into custody by the U.S. Marshal Service. They were lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.
• Jason A. Alvezios, East Hemlock Street, Lafollette, Tennessee.
• Brandi Nicole Layne, age 24, Melvin Lane, Lafollette, Tennessee.
• Jordan R. Martin, Perkins Lane, Jacksboro, Tennessee.
• Tildem J. Crase, Straight Branch Road, Speedwell, Tennessee. He also maintains a residence in Letcher County.
All four individuals were lodged without bond. They were scheduled for an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Robert Weir in U.S. District Court in London on Friday afternoon.
During an initial appearance the suspects learn the charges, are advised of their rights, and are appointed an attorney if needed, according to the U.S. District Court Clerk. Dates may also be set for a detention hearing or preliminary hearing on the charges.
For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at www.operationunite.org.
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In 2003, Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-Somerset) worked to create Operation UNITE, a regional anti-drug initiative empowering citizens groups and community leaders in 29 southern and eastern Kentucky counties. UNITE, which stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education, seeks to fight the drug epidemic by expanding drug awareness and education programs to keep people from using drugs; coordinating drug treatment and outreach programs for those who are already addicted; and operating regional undercover law enforcement task forces for interdiction and prosecution of those dealing drugs. Rogers has directed $33.1 million in federal funds to the counter-drug initiative over the past four years. For more information contact Karen Engle toll-free at 1-866-678-6483.
Drug Tip Hotline – 1-866-424-4382 / Treatment Referral Hotline – 1-866-90-UNITE (1-866-908-6483)