17 Arrested In Operation UNITE Drug Roundup

Twenty three individuals were targeted for arrest following an eight-month undercover drug investigation by Operation UNITE.

Police attempted to locate 14 of these suspected Magoffin County drug dealers on Thursday, April 12. Nine suspects were charged prior to the roundup.

Most of the cases involve the illegal sale of OxyContin and Hydrocodone pills, according to Paul Hays, deputy law enforcement director for UNITE.

This was the fifth coordinated roundup of drug suspects in Magoffin County by UNITE since November 2004.

Detectives from Operation UNITE were joined by law enforcement officers from the Magoffin County Sheriff's Office, Salyersville Police Department, Kentucky State Police and Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement during Thursday's operation.

Following a 7:30 a.m. briefing at the old Magoffin County Courthouse in Magoffin Plaza, teams of officers armed with arrest warrants headed out in search of the suspects.

Once processed at the Justice Center, those arrested were lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Johnson County.

A total of 17 people had been arrested as of early afternoon Thursday.

Charged prior to Thursday's roundup were:

• Randy Back, age 33, Clark Branch Road, Hazel Green (Wolfe County), first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, and persistent felony offender.

• David Connelley, age 31, HC 61, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Shawn Dunn, age 28, Johnson Fork Road, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.

• Johnny Howard, age 43, Salyersville, persistent felony offender. Howard, who was previously arrested on multiple drug-trafficking charges during a UNITE round-up in July 2006, is currently awaiting trial on those charges.

• Brian L. Meade, age 25, Old Lick Creek Road, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Jeremy Puckett, age 31, Flynt Branch Road, Salyersville, first-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Marcus E. Sparks, age 20, West Liberty, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Dale Stephens, age 47, Dixie Avenue, Salyersville, two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and one count each of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, third-degree possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Sandra Stephens, age 45, Dixie Avenue, Salyersville, two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Arrested on Thursday were:

• Rebecca Bailey, age 29, Royalton Road, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Eddie Caldwell Jr., age 33, Long Branch Road, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Tanya Cole, age 26, Dixie-Sugar Camp Road, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, and endangering the welfare of a minor.

• Randy Cole, age 42, Jim Arnett Branch, Salyersville, three counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and three counts of conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance.

• Amanda L. Lethco, age 25, Jim Arnett Branch, Salyersville, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Mikel Porter, age 51, Salyersville, cultivating marijuana more than five plants, convicted felon in possession of a handgun, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and persistent felony offender.

• Willis Porter, age 60, Porter Road, Salyersville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, trafficking in marijuana more than five plants, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, third-degree possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana.

• Jackie L. Watkins, age 51, Route 378, Salyersville, five counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, two counts of conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, and one count of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

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

* * * * *

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 three 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)


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