WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

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.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus

WKYT

2851 Winchester Rd. Lexington, Ky 40509 859-299-0411 - switchboard 859-299-2727 - newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 42689557 - wkyt.com/a?a=42689557