WHITLEY CITY A six-month investigation into illegal drug dealing has resulted in arrest warrants for 21 McCreary County residents.
On Wednesday, November 22, Operation UNITE orchestrated a multi-agency law enforcement effort to apprehend these street-level dealers.
³Most of those targeted in this round-up have sold prescription medication primarily OxyContin with some cocaine to our detectives or informants,² said Joel Cunigan, manager of UNITE¹s Cumberland Drug Task Force.
³This is just the first round,² Cunigan continued. ³There are many more dealers in McCreary County, and we will be indicting additional suspects in the near future.²
³I¹ve been looking forward to this day for a long time,² said Roger Owens, chairman of the Champions UNITE Coalition. ³Our Champions group just celebrated its fifth anniversary. Until now we have put all of our resources into education. This is the first day that law enforcement has taken their step into getting drugs out of McCreary County, and there will be many more of them.²
UNITE detectives were joined by officers from the McCreary County Sheriff¹s Office, U.S. Forest Service, Kentucky State Police, Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force and McCreary County constables in executing the warrants following an 8 a.m. briefing at the Whitley City Fire Department. Also assisting were representatives from Appalachia HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area).
This was the first time UNITE has focused a round-up specifically on McCreary County, Cunigan said, but noted McCreary residents were included in a multi-county law enforcement effort in December 2004 and have been targets of individual investigations during the past two years.
³The importance of citizens reporting suspected drug activity through our drug tip-line (1-866-424-4382) cannot be over emphasized,² Cunigan added.
³Every piece of information we can obtain assists in building solid cases and getting these drug dealers off the street.²
Through September 2006 UNITE has received 238 drug tip calls from McCreary County.
Members of the Champions UNITE Coalition were on hand to offer reassurance and assistance to those arrested as they were brought in for booking.
³Drug dealing and drug abuse have a far-reaching impact on the family and community,² Owens said. ³We are not here to preach, but to offer ourselves as caring, concerned friends and neighbors. If they need help, we want them to know we are there.²
Assisting with the out-reach effort were Jeff Bryant, pastor of Redemption Way Church in Stearns, Mike Neal, pastor of Pine Knot Southern Baptist Church, and Jay Constant, program director for New Beginning Substance Abuse Recovery Center in Pine Knot and pastor of the Jasper Bend Baptist Church.
During an afternoon press conference, UNITE Law Enforcement Director Dan Smoot and Lake Cumberland Region Coalition Coordinator Carlos Cameron explained the many opportunities citizens of McCreary have to become involved with the anti-drug effort. They noted everyone has a role to play if we don¹t want another generation to become lost to the devastating effects caused by drug abuse.
Anyone wanting more information on how to become involved with the McCreary County Champions Coalition can contact Roger Owens at 606-376-9346 or P.O.
Box 1235, Whitley City, KY 42653. Information about Operation UNITE can be obtained at 1-866-OP-UNITE (1-866-678-6483) or www.operationunite.org
Those arrested and lodged in the McCreary County Jail as of 4 p.m. Wednesday
€ Kevin Canada, age 26, Wilborg Loop Road, Parkers Lake, three counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Greg Coffey, age 45, of Highway 1044 (Bethel Road), Pine Knot, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Charlotte Hendrix, age 42, of new Liberty Road, Pine Knot, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Nancy Sunshine Lyons, age 23, of Stearns, possession of marijuana under 8 ounces.
€ Deanna McCoy, age 22, of Highway 700, Whitley City, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Misty McCoy, age 26, of Highway 700, Whitley City, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Etta Murphy, age 39, of Highway 90, Pine Knot, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ L.A. Murphy, age 42, of Highway 90, Pine Knot, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Matti Patton, age 32, of East Highway 92, Whitley City, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Joe Vanover, age 35, of Highway 90, Parkers Lake, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Billy Ray Watson, age 45, of Harper Road, Revelo, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine).
€ Shawn Watson, age 21, of Poplar Ford Road, Pine Knot, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
€ Sam Watters, age 51, of Highway 1650, Revelo, three counts trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.