Perry County Man Faces New Drug Charges Following Traffic Stop

A Perry County man already facing cocaine charges in two counties was arrested on new drug charges following a traffic stop in Clay County on Tuesday, January 16.

James L. Johnson, of Lauren Paige Lane in Hazard, was charged by Operation UNITE with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, and reckless driving. He currently has cases pending in Perry and Powell counties.

The 35 year old Johnson was traveling west on the Hal Rogers Parkway about six miles from Manchester when he passed a UNITE detective doing "between 90 and 100 miles per hour," said Dan Smoot, director of law enforcement for UNITE. The detective notified the Clay County Dispatch Center and a deputy was dispatched.

Just after 8 p.m. the sheriff's deputy stopped Johnson's green, 1999 Dodge minivan on the parkway inside the Manchester city limits. When officers approached the van they spotted a .38 special revolver on the passenger seat. He was immediately placed under arrest for reckless driving without incident.

A subsequent search discovered more than 15 grams of suspected cocaine, approximately 3 grams of marijuana, a Hydrocodone pill and nearly $6,000 in cash ­most in the van's center console.

Johnson was lodged in the Clay County Detention Center in lieu of a $25,000 cash only bond and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday, January 22, in Clay District Court.

This is the third time in the past 16 months that Johnson has run afoul of the law.

The Kentucky State Police arrested Johnson in late 2005 for first-degree possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), speeding (more than 25 miles over the limit), and driving on a DUI suspended license. He was released on a 10 percent of $25,000 bond in September 2005.

Johnson was indicted by a Powell County Grand Jury in March 2006. The case has been continued several times and he is scheduled for arraignment on February 21.

On August 5, 2006, Johnson was arrested by the Perry County Sheriff's Office on charges of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine), first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a controlled substance not in its original container.

Johnson posted a $100,000 surety bond on August 21 with the conditions he not have any alcohol, drugs or other violations.

This case was waived to the Perry County Grand Jury on October 24, 2006, and has still not been presented for possible indictment. A status hearing is scheduled for January 30 in Perry District Court.

For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at

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