Harlan drug roundup targets Tri-Cities area

BENHAM – Indictment warrants have been issued for 52 people following an investigation into the illegal sale of drugs in Harlan County.

Most of those wanted by Operation UNITE live in the Tri-Cities area of Benham, Cumberland and Lynch.

More than two dozen law enforcement officers representing eight agencies spread out to serve the warrants Monday, June 6. As of 2:30 p.m. 30 people had been arrested.

The indictments followed a year-long undercover investigation that primarily revolved around the sale of OxyContin, Hydrocodone and Suboxone. A majority of the pills purchased during the investigation originated in Florida, officials said.

Participating with UNITE detectives in the roundup were officers from the Kentucky State Police, Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, Harlan Police Department, Benham Police Department, Cumberland Police Department, Lynch Police Department and Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement.

One pastor from the local Harlan County UNITE Coalition attended to show community support.

Those arrested Monday were:

• Roger Banks, 31, Pine Street, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Billy Ray Baldwin Jr., 35, East Main Street, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• David Gary Baldwin, 45, Highway 160, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Eric Blanton, 24, Cumberland Manor, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• John Blanton III, 30, Gap Branch, Lynch, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• William A. Brock, 61, Cloverlick Apartments, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Denise Callahan, 30, Cloverlick Apartments, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Brandy Cantrell, 31, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Kelly Leann Coker, 28, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Christy Cox, 39, Mastin Drive, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Kenny Cox, 36, Mastin Drive, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Ginger Creech, 39, Railroad Street, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Keith Ellis, 23, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• David Estep, 56, Kingdom Come Drive, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Elizabeth Monalisa Floyd, 48, Rasnick Street, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Samuel Gaines, 45, Lynch, three counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Theresa Hancock, 44, East Highway 221, Bledsoe, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Melissa Hensley, 40, Old Airport Road, Loyall, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Chris Hill, 39, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Charley Johnson, 38, New York Road, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Phillip Johnson, 32, Lynch, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Eyuronica Joseph, 26, Bledsoe, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Michael Kilburn, 25, Pike County, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Larry Lucas, 28, Mastin Drive, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Jessie Mann, 26, Russell Drive, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.

• Christina Osborne, 24, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Faren Sturgill, 24, Pride Terrace, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Wesley Tippett, 34, Cumberland, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Alonzo Turner Jr., 67, East Highway 221, Bledsoe, complicity to first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• William Whitehead, 28, Cumberland Avenue, Cumberland, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Each of those arrested was lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center in Evarts.

Police are continuing to try and locate the remaining suspects.

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. For more information contact Karen Engle toll-free at 1-866-678-6483.

Drug Tip Hotline – 1-866-424-4382 / Treatment Referral Line – 1-866-90-UNITE (1-866-908-6483)


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