The U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, and the Kentucky State Police jointly announced Friday that all 55 defendants that were arrested during last June’s large scale drug roundup in Paris, Ky. have been convicted and sentenced.
A federal judge sentenced the last defendant in Lexington Friday morning. All of the people sentenced played roles in conspiracies to deal narcotics, primarily cocaine and crack cocaine, in Paris for several years.
U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said approximately 75% of the defendants had prior felony convictions. He added that some of their drug convictions dated back more than two decades. Approximately half of the defendants sentenced received five years or more in federal prison.
Officials who spoke at the conference said the 55 individuals involved includes small level drug dealers and drug runners all the way up to the multi-kilogram traffickers.
One of the leaders in the case, Mal Walton, ran a grocery store that he used as a hub for the majority of the drug trafficking activities that took place in this case. Walton used drug runners to distribute narcotics during all hours of the day in and around the store which was located two blocks from Paris High School. Walton received an 18 year prison sentence.
“We hope that after seeing these sentences, the city of Paris can take some comfort in knowing that the individuals that afflicted their community for years with drug trafficking were held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Harvey.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer and ATF Resident Agent in Charge, Rich Putnam, said the investigation started more than two years ago after numerous citizens complained to law enforcement about criminal activity in the area.
The Mayor of Paris described the impact the drug trafficking had on the community in a recent letter he wrote to the federal judge presiding over the case. “Law abiding citizens felt like hostages,” said Thornton. “Citizens in these heavily affected areas were fearful to venture outside of their homes after dark.”