UNITE Reaches Milestone

ACKSON – Operation UNITE arrested its 3,000th drug trafficker on April 8, five years and two days after the anti-drug organization began sweeping dealers from the streets of Eastern Kentucky.

On April 6, 2004, UNITE detectives targeted 210 suspects within the eight-county Kentucky River Region – the largest such operation in the state’s history. Police returned to one of those counties on Wednesday, seeking 48 people in UNITE’s 124th large-scale roundup of dealers.

This was the seventh time Breathitt County has been the focus of a drug roundup. Through Wednesday’s operation, 209 county residents have been charged with drug-related crimes.

“Obviously this is a significant amount of people that we have arrested,” said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for UNITE. “When we started they were dealing from the street corners. Today it is getting more difficult to make cases.

“We know we have a long way to go, but we believe our approach is effective,” Smoot continued. “It takes the cooperation of citizens to identify possible dealers.”

More than 736 calls have been made to UNITE’s toll-free Drug Tip Line (1-866-424-4382) since its creation in January 2004.

“This is the seventh highest number of calls in the 29-county Fifth Congressional District,” Smoot noted. “There is a correlation between the number of tips received and the number of cases we are able to make.”

Through February UNITE has removed $8.6 million worth of drugs removed from the streets of southern and eastern Kentucky, including nearly 22,500 pills in the Kentucky River Region alone. To date 127 of UNITE’s cases on larger dealers have been adopted for federal prosecution.

Of those cases that have made their way through the judicial system, UNITE has achieved a 96.8 percent conviction rate.

Most of those sought in this week’s roundup were wanted for illegally selling prescription pills – mostly OxyContin, Smoot said, noting police have been conducting an undercover drug investigation in Breathitt County for the past six months.

With the assistance of Jackson Police Chief Jeff Noble and his officers, troopers from Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard and Constable Jack Howard, UNITE detectives began serving the indictment warrants at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Those arrested were brought to the old Jackson Fire Department for processing before being lodged in the Three Forks Regional Jail in Beattyville.

As of 2:30 p.m. police had arrested 28 individuals. They were:

• Loren Ray Allen, age 39, Snapper Lane, Jackson, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (second offense) and second-degree persistent felony offender.

• Edward Auxier, age 36, Ivy Point Apartments, Jackson, first-degree possession of a controlled substance.

• Brandon K. Barnett, age 25, Jackson, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Mary Catherine Begley, age 30, Quicksand Road, Jackson, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.

• Leah Blackburn, age 26, Three Forks Regional Jail, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Bobbie Faye Campbell, age 32, Quicksand Road, Jackson, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Dwayne Campbell, age 22, Three Forks Regional Jail, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Viney Campbell, age 47, Three Forks Regional Jail, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Matthew Combs, age 35, Whick Lick Road, Jackson, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces.

• Oscar John Costello, age 45, Highway 1110, Jackson, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces.

• Anita Craft, age 31, Haddix Depot Road, Haddix, trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.

• Christopher Howard, age 31, Highland Avenue, Jackson, forgery of a prescription and second-degree persistent felony offender.

• Evalee Hudson, age 34, Snapper Lane, Jackson, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Clinton Humphrey, age 25, Three Forks Regional Jail, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Lynnis Landrum, age 40, Campbells Branch Road, Jackson, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.

• William G. Lovins, age 40, Three Forks Regional Jail, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.

• Merdie McIntosh, age 53, Fish Pond Road, Jackson, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.

• Paul “PJ” Miller, age 40, Campbell’s Branch Road, Jackson, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Brenda Moore, age 30, Big Branch, Jackson, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Randy Mullins, age 32, Fish Pond Road, Jackson, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (second offense).

• Jane Neace, age 31, Three Forks Regional Jail, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Sharon Neace, age 29, Leatherwood Road, Lost Creek, trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces.

• Catherine Noble, age 46, Stone Cold Hollow, Jackson, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Charles Russell, age 63, Granny’s Branch, Jackson, complicity to first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• David Southard, age 45, Ison Street, Jackson, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Charlie Sword, age 41, Three Forks Regional Jail, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and first-degree persistent felony offender.

• Jason Tipps, age 28, Athol, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (second offense) and second-degree persistent felony offender.

• Gary Vires, age 44, Three Forks Regional Jail, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (second offense).

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


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  • by arnold Location: manchester on Apr 11, 2009 at 07:37 PM
    if you don't beleive (unite) is a joke and a dirty one at that. Just ask about Hal R. giving four million dollars to the crooks in CLAY CO. to the drugs. Now they are all in prison or awating trial. The circuit judge was even in on it. He was a big thug in starting DRUG COURT for old HAL ROGERS. Now, if anyone don't want to go alone with this story, come to manchester ky. and see for your self. The stupid people in easter ky. don't have enough sense to see through this crook, therfourth you deserve anything he has done to you.
  • by William Location: seky on Apr 11, 2009 at 11:04 AM
    Unite robed homes,Broke up familys,Distroyed Health care,people died behind bars unsupervised,Neibour lost trust in neibour,waisted Millions of tax payers money that went to special people in the name of salaries, big salaries and robing the poor and disfranchised of even there very life...unite is indeed been a unitemare from the people of south east kentucky to with hold much needed medicine from thousands of sick people How can doctors do this in good Consciousness? How many strokes and heart attacks and mental breakdowns occoured from eldery and sick people that went unaware of? I believe that the increase of meth came from the sudden abrupt with holding of medicine from the sick,unite has did well made money robed people and killed people with chemicals knifes and social and even relegious condemnation showing no love what so ever to people, It has truely been a unitemare for the people like a dark cloud of disrest and peace removal for so many people what a waist of life and time
  • by Worried Citizen Location: Hazard on Apr 11, 2009 at 04:33 AM
    Well said Bill. I am worried about these people and what will we be left with. All that money and no rehab, just a number for the amount of arrests. It appears to be modern day revenuers.
  • by William Location: seky on Apr 11, 2009 at 12:06 AM
    3000 arrest,No its time for this UNITEMARE to end! I think a few of them need to go to jail there self, yes some operation it is I hope how soon sanity returns to the region, If Hal Rogers would stop trying to make Ky dist 5 a police state,based on relegion courts and doctors,Now the media is all they need I see the new flag for seky and east ky the pentagon eagels or is that buzzards? more like Money buzzards, well yea Unite has caused a few deaths they could use buzzards on there logo flag...You know what UNITE is? Bull S*** now there is what Operation UNITE is I know that for a fact!Its a disgrace and needs to be brought to a end soon!! as possible and return health care to its proper place...It has distroyed health care for people and its all about courts and money and a big hoop la hog s*** Hog S*** Hog S*** HOG S*** amen.The Tirany needs to end now.Relegious fanatics mixed with policeing health care, and terror has hit many homes in this poor poor region its a crime for sure ;(
  • by Jack Location: Harlan poor house on Apr 10, 2009 at 04:59 PM
    looks like operation unite has done a good job there, are they anyway we could get them to come to harlan county and round up about too thirds of the pot growing four wheelers, and dealers. anyway sounds like a good job over there, just wish they would come here and round up the whole bunch....and keep them in jail when they get rounded up..
  • by IMO on Apr 10, 2009 at 04:27 PM
    Well all 26, or however many, are still in jail under a huge bond that no one can afford..not even our county cannot afford to keep them there.If they are intending to keep them there then give them their court date & send them on to the big house & get off the county pay. No county can afford something like this now that everyone is broke & we need other things than paying to keep a bunch of thugs in jail. The judge says he isn't lowering a bond so let him pay the jail bill. Taxpayers are doing enough & we are stretched to the limit financially.
  • by MG on Apr 10, 2009 at 01:15 PM
    Punishments should be harsher for EVERYTHING in my opinion. Make them harsh enough and people might consider not doing them for once... as it is supposed to be.
  • by Concerned Location: Pike County,Ky. on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:53 AM
    To me this UNITE thing is a joke.I have personally saw people arrested and taken to jail. But in most cases the dealers beat the police officers back home. I wonder of the 3000 people that have been arrested have spent over 1 day in jail. If the truth be known, not very many.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:43 AM
    to anonymous in ky I agree with you 100%!!!!!! They do need harsher punishment for the ones that do get punished but the ones that dont get punished should be.
  • by Anonymous Location: breathitt on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:06 AM
    I'm so proud of Unite. They are doing a good job but it's also our job as parents to keep our eyes open to what our children are doing. We as parents can help by helping our children.
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