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Drug Investigation Targets Perry County Hot Spot

Drug Investigation Targets Perry County Hot Spot

HAZARD (UNITE) -­ Six people have been arrested following a six-month undercover drug investigation centered around a recently closed pawn shop in the Hardburley community of eastern Perry County.

Detectives from Operation UNITE - assisted by the Perry County Sheriff’s Office, Hazard Police Department and Kentucky State Police ­ set out Thursday afternoon to serve the arrest warrants and conduct searches at three residences. A small quantity of Percocet, Hydrocodone and Suboxone was seized.

The enforcement effort was part of UNITE’s “Operation Hot Spot,” which focuses on specific geographical areas with a high concentration of drug trafficking.

“All of these cases were developed within a one-mile area centered around Johnny’s Pawn Shop in Bulan, where some of the transactions took place,” said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for UNITE.

“Neighbors in this area should not have to deal with so much illegal activity taking place right outside their front doors,” Smoot continued.

Operation Hot Spot seeks first to reclaim drug-invested neighborhoods by eliminating the dealers, then empower residents with information and resources needed to keep their neighborhoods drug-free.

Previous Hot Spot enforcement efforts have been conducted on Curry Branch and Crawfish Branch Roads in the Horse Creek community of Clay County, the Verda community in Harlan County, Busy/Yerkes/Willard communities in Perry County, and the Benham/Cumberland/Lynch communities in Harlan County.

Charged in connection with Operation Hot Spot were:

- Johnny Ray Bryant, age 44, of Hardburley Road, owner of Johnny’s Pawn Shop, two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (OxyContin).

- Fred Caudill, age 46, of Highway 476, Bulan, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense (OxyContin).

- Darrell Jones, age 50, of Highway 476, Bulan, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Percocet).

- Robert L. Jones, age 51, of Highway 476, Bulan, three counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (OxyContin).

- James “Hippie” Long, age 30, of Jakes Fork Road, Hardburley, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (OxyContin).

- Brian J. Morris, age 32, of Big Williard Road, Busy, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, (OxyContin).

For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at www.operationunite.org.


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