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Drug Round-up in Pike County

Eighteen people are charged with drug trafficking after a nine month undercover investigation in Pike County.
Operation UNITE, Kentucky State Police, and DEA agents started making arrests early Tuesday morning.

The investigation centered around the Regina and Virgie communities.
So far ten of the suspects are arrested, and police are searching for the others.

Despite snow and ice, Operation UNITE officers did not let it stop them making drug arrests.
"It did make the day more challenging, but we were able to get out and get done what we needed to do," said Keith Napier, Operation UNITE's Big Sandy Task Force Manager.

UNITE officers with the help of KSP and the DEA arrested nearly one dozen suspected drug dealers.
"Oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, those types of prescription meds," said Napier.
Officers say some even had cocaine.
They charged eighteen people with drug trafficking.
The suspects did not want to talk to WYMT as they went to jail.

UNITE officials say they have proof all of the suspects were illegally selling drugs.

"Each of these individuals have had controlled or undercover buys made from them, cases worked by UNITE detectives," said Napier.

Officers say the undercover operation in the Virgie and Regina communities took nine months.
Leaders say the drug investigations in Pike County are not ending with these 18 suspects.
"We're going to continue to investigate these people that we have information that are illegally selling controlled substances in eastern Kentucky," said Napier.
They plan many more investigations and arrests in the new year.

List of the suspects arrested

Bobby Bowling, 26, Bowling Fork Road, Elkhorn City, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

William Bowling, 57, Bowling Fork Road, Elkhorn City, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Kevin Hopkins, 46, Greasy Creek Road, Shelbiana, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and persistent felony offender.

Larry Kendrick, 34, Greasy Creek Road, Shelbiana, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and persistent felony offender.

Anthony John Puett, 27, Pikeville, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and persistent felony offender.

James "Jamie" Rowe, 31, First Street, Lookout, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and persistent felony offender.

Garia Smith, 38, Virgie High Street, Virgie, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Richard Starghill, 34, Chloe Court, Pikeville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Steve Tackett, 39, Pikeville, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Vornele Tackett, 66, Dry Branch Road, Virgie, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Police continue to search for the remaining eight suspects.


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