UNITE Targets 22 Dealers In Drug Investigation

JACKSON – An investigation by Operation UNITE into drug dealing in Breathitt County has resulted in indictment warrants for 22 individuals.

On Tuesday, July 31, police conducted a roundup to arrest these individuals. As of noon 10 suspects had been located and $1,460 in cash confiscated from one of the homes.

In addition, two of those identified as part of the investigation were previously charged and have since pled guilty.

Mike Luttrell, manager of UNITE’s Kentucky River Drug Task Force, explained that 26-year-old Richard Neil Deaton and 34-year-old Sean Griffith, both of Jackson, were already in jail when Circuit Judge Frank Fletcher noticed their names on the indictment list. Instead of waiting for the roundup, both men were arrested.

UNITE Prosecutor Bruce Herald said Deaton sold OxyContin to a cooperating witness in January and February 2007. He subsequently pled guilty and was sentenced to a total of 15 years in jail for two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

Griffith, of Highway 1110, pled guilty to one count of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (OxyContin) on Wednesday, July 25, Herald said. A five-year sentence will be recommended when he appears for formal sentencing.

The undercover investigation began around the first part of 2007 and primarily involved the sale of OxyContin and Lortab pills, Luttrell said.

Assisting with Tuesday’s roundup were members of the Jackson Police Department and Kentucky State Police.

Arrested during the roundup and lodged at the Three Forks Regional Jail were:

• Daniel Robert Brisley, age 37, Old Buck Road, Jackson, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Angelee Cockerham, age 42, Highway 28, Jackson, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Wanda Combs, age 42, Airplane Hollow, Jackson, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Zechariah Gross, age 22, Old Buck Road, Jackson, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Grover Napier, age 38, Old Buck Road, Jackson, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Jeff Noble, age 27, Highway 205, Jackson, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Maggie Noble, age 60, junction of Highway 28 and Highway 315, Jackson, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Ruby Noble, age 51, Highway 205, Jackson, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Johnny Turner, age 40, Elliot Turner Drive, Jackson, three counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Ritchie Whitley, age 30, Lick Branch Talbert Road, Jackson, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

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


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by renee n Location: jackson on Aug 8, 2007 at 06:25 PM
    i think this was a joke they got the poorest people that never had food on the tables and where was the new cars., money homes and new cars. unite is making breathitt co a big joke if they would get the big drug dealer then they would be doing their job. i know big drug dealer they should've got but got the poorest. we really need some new unite people. theirs one over at three fork right now that on his death bed right at this time unite should really crtawl under the table. i f i was them i would be ashame getting people who bearly living.go look over at three forks and see them and see if they had money unite is after the poor man not the rich. maybe half of the unite worker are doing drugs themselves and don't want to bust there dealer. unite needs to clean out there own back doors.
  • by DLB Location: London on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:07 PM
    I have allways wondered about those who have bad things to say about good law enforcement. Maybe they have something to be nervous about?
  • by Retired cop Location: Eastern Ky on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:02 PM
    Good Job UNITE. Thank you. Now let's hope the court does their job and and sends them off for a long long time.
  • by concerned Location: RRG on Aug 1, 2007 at 11:53 AM
    I agree with anonymous from Letcher... UNITE is turning into a big joke. I personally know that they caught a man with lots of drugs and large quantity of money and guess what... They let him go after holding a gun to his head and threatening to kill and bury him if he opened his mouth... They took the drugs and the money... Wonder what happened to that??? Guess what the only thing good that came out of that was the young man was scared straight he took that as a sign from God and got his life back on track... Thank you for the crooked/corrupt UNITE officers that caught him.... But when are you going to get and undercover unite office undercover within the unite operation... They are running drugs and busting the low line people to keep suspicion down.
  • by Anonymous Location: LETCHER COUNTY on Aug 1, 2007 at 05:12 AM
    This is a pefect example of how UNITE will spend all this manpower and tax dollars to bust LOW level street dealers. Think about it. There was 22 ppl arrested and only one had cash, no drugs were found in the homes of any of them. UNITE sends out reports to the media of a DRUG BUST involving 22 ppl and everyone thinks they have made a difference. Its a JOKE if you ask me. If UNITE would target the MAJOR dealers I am sure much drugs and money would have been found at the time of the arrest. UNITE manipulates this area with propaganda to make it look like they are doing good, but actually all they are doing is busting ppl who have sold something just one or twice and arent a real danger to society like the MAJOR dealers. When will the ppl of this area realize the scare tactics UNITE uses to continue their WAR ON DRUGS and get rich off our tax dollars. I guarantee if someone researched it the drug problem here is no worse than anywhere else in the Country. Thanks.
  • by sam Location: bonnyman on Jul 31, 2007 at 06:05 PM
    I think what unite is doing is a good job because they are cleaning up the streets like they should becuase I think the drug prouble is getting out of control so GO GET THEM

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