A continuing investigation by Operation UNITE into illegal drug trafficking in southeastern Pike County has resulted in arrest warrants for 16 people.
Nine of these suspects were arrested during a roundup conducted Friday, November 30, along with a fugitive from a previous investigation. Two other individuals were taken into custody earlier this week.
Since mid-September UNITE has conducted three roundups targeting 48 people in Pike County. The Pike County Sheriff's Office has sought approximately a dozen other individuals during these operations.
Most of the drugs purchased in this latest investigation involved prescription medications - primarily Hydrocodone - with some cocaine and marijuana, said Iain Dalrymple, manager of UNITE's Big Sandy Drug Task Force.
Assisting UNITE detectives Friday were law enforcement officers from the Pike County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky State Police and Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement.
Two individuals wanted in connection to a four-month undercover investigation into illegal drug sales were arrested prior to Friday's roundup.
On Wednesday, November 28, eight UNITE detectives assisted by four deputies from the Pike County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant at the River Road residence of 48-year-old Billy Joe Anderson in Draffin as part of the four-month investigation involving undercover drug buys.
Police discovered approximately 10 firearms, a small quantity of marijuana and drug paraphernalia at the home.
Anderson, who has prior felony convictions, was arrested on a Pike County indictment warrant for second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, trafficking in marijuana under 8 ounces, enhanced trafficking in marijuana (due to the weapons being present), and persistent felony offender.
Charges related to the search are pending further investigation.
Later in the day, Pike County deputies arrested Anderson's step-daughter, 41-year-old Debra Ann Ratliff of Pond Creek Road, Draffin, on two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Both were lodged in the Pike County Detention Center.
As of 3 p.m. Friday a total of 12 people had been arrested.
In addition to Anderson and Ratliff, those arrested and lodged in the Pike County Detention Center were:
• Amanda Derossett, age 53, Hellier Hill, Hellier, one count third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Curtis Jones, age 24, Jones Road, Rockhouse, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine).
• Sandra Mullins, age 56, Card Mountain Road, Mouthcard, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Kerby Senter, age 48, Pond Creek Road, Draffin, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and one count trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces.
• David Stewart, age 49, Ferrells Creek, Belcher, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Dennis Stewart, age 48, River Road, Elkhorn City, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Rhonda Sykes, age 55, Red Creek Road, Pikeville, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Lena Thacker, age 33, Harless Creek Road, Regina, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• James Robert Williams, age 61, Hellier Hill, Hellier, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Tommy D. Williams, age 37, Hellier Hill, Hellier, one count third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
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)