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UPDATE: Seven people in KY and TX charged in Bell County drug case

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Seven people in Kentucky and Texas are charged in a federal drug case in Bell County. They are accused of distributing pills since 1996.

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BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Two people from Texas are now charged in a federal drug case in Bell County.

In September, the DEA arrested four people accused of dealing prescription pills. Now indictments are out and it includes two people from San Antonio.

Records show it involves drug trades dating back to 1996.

A federal grand jury indicted Donald King, Joe King, Sherrill King, Melissa Summers, and Buddy Tigue on charges of distributing prescription Oxycodone and Alprazolam since 1996 to September of this year.
Two people in Texas, Noe Polanco and Yolanda Villarreal, are also indicted in the case. DEA agents in Texas arrested them and court records show they will come to Eastern Kentucky to face the charges.

Records show DEA investigators in Texas seized a 2012 Toyota Camry and $49,440 from Polanco.

Other seized property listed in the indictment includes $17,880 from Tigue's vehicle, $4,066 from Donnie King, and $2,415 from Summers' purse.

A forfeiture allegation in the indictment lists seven pieces of property in Claiborne County, TN and Bell County, KY possibly involved in the case.

The property includes the Bell County Fairgrounds and the King's Recreation and Fitness Center.

People who live in the apartments in the King's Recreation and Fitness Center building in Pineville say DEA agents searched the building earlier this month.

"Everything on this side, they went through really thoroughly," said Tony Lefevers who lives in the building.

Federal court records show agents searched the building as part of the drug investigation into Donald, Joe, and Sherrill King.

"I always thought they were good folks and held them in high esteem, especially Sherrill," said Lefevers.

People who live in the apartments were surprised to hear the building is possibly connected to a drug ring spanning all the way to Texas.

"They say everything is big in Texas, but it's small in Pineville, so it's weird," said Natasha Green.

"I've never seen anything to make me think something was wrong. If I had, I wouldn't have brought my family here," said Lefevers.

A federal trial is scheduled for December 3rd.

Donald King, Sherrill King, Melissa Summers, and Buddy Tigue have all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Records show the others have not been arraigned yet.

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9-19-13

BELL COUNTY, Ky. and CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. (WYMT) - The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) arrested four people in Bell County on drug-related charges.

One of them is Sherrill King, a Cumberland Gap, Tennessee high school teacher.

The Cumberland Gap High School website lists King as a driver's education teacher. Students say he is no longer in the classroom since his arrest on federal charges.

"He was a pretty good guy, a good teacher. I mean, I liked him. He was real nice and respectful and stuff," said Zac Crigger, one of the students in King's class.

Federal court documents show King, 44, is charged with conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone and Alprazolam from January 1st, 2003 to the present time.

"It's a shame you have to worry about the teachers instead of the students pushing drugs," said one mother who did not want to be identified.

The Claiborne County School System issued this statement:
"The teacher is placed on suspension by Claiborne County Schools. Any questions regarding the nature of his charges should be directed to the proper authorities."

King's defense attorney Paul Croley issued this statement:
"Mr. King has been a respected member of the local community for many years. He maintains his innocence in spite of these allegations. He looks forward to the day when he can tell his side of the story. For now, the justice system will have to run its course. We are confident that the evidence will exonerate our client and prove that the system works."

The three others arrested in the case are Donald King, 58, of Tennessee; Melissa Summers, 36, of Pineville; and Buddy Tigue, 54 of Flat Lick.

Leaders with Stand in the Gap, an organization that fights drug abuse in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, said they are pleased with the federal investigation and arrests.

"We're pleased there was a change in the community in regards to illicit drugs," said Dan Spurlock.

DEA officials say this case is still under investigation and cannot release any other details.

Sherrill King appeared in Federal Court in London on Thursday afternoon. Court officials say he waived the preliminary hearing.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Honorable Hanly Ingram allowed Sherrill King's release from custody if he follows certain conditions. He must report to the Probation Office for supervision. He cannot travel out of the Eastern District of Kentucky or Claiborne County, Tennessee. He must avoid all contact with other defendants and possible witnesses. He cannot use alcohol or posses narcotics and must undergo drug testing.

The other defendants are scheduled for court next week.


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