Commonwealth Journal

March 20, 2014

Multi-agency drug bust nets 21 arrests

Probe was year-long

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Law enforcement officials hit the ground running early Wednesday morning as part of a massive round-up of more than 40 people on a variety of drug charges. 
Early Wednesday morning, investiga-tors with a number of law enforcement age-ncies converged on Somerset City Hall, ending a year-long investigation into alleged illegal drug trafficking in prescription pills, methamphetamines, marijuana, and psychedelic drugs.
Agents with the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force, the Somerset Police Department, the Kentucky State Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Adminis-tration, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were involved in the 12-month investigation. 
On Wednesday, those agencies received assistance from the Eubank Police Depart-ment, the Science Hill Police Department, Ferguson Police Department, the Burnside Police Department, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and 5th District Constable Mike Wallace in an operation that has resulted in arrest warrants being issued for 41 people on 71 individual charges. 
“This is a major undertaking by the agencies involved in the initial investigation that put their resources and time into this operation,” said Capt. Shannon Smith, with the Som-erset Police Department. “But we also want to extend our thanks to the agencies that helped in the round-up itself.
“This couldn’t have been without the additional cooperation of the agencies involved in the round-up today,” Smith added. 
Smith said more than 30 officers, agents and investigators took part in Wednesday’s round-up. 
All 71 counts are for felony offenses. Some include charges for persistent felony offender, which stems from committing a felony after having recently been convicted or serving out a separate felony sentence.
“Several of these individuals are repeat offenders, meaning they’ve already been convicted by a criminal court at least once for selling drugs,” said LCADTF Director Robbie Clark. “Our mission has always been to do everything within our legal power to combat illegal drugs.  With the help of these agencies, we have been able to continue our mission.”
After the Wednesday morning briefing, the investigators fanned out across Pulaski County to make the arrests. 
Around half of the alleged violations took place within city limits. 
“ ... We are pleased with the outcome and the cooperation between the investigating agencies,” said SPD Chief Major Doug Nelson. 
The remaining violations took place in or near Eubank, Science Hill, Nancy, and other areas of Pulaski County.
The following defendants had arrest warrants issued for them as a result of the investigation:
• David Sexton, 36, of Somerset, charged with two counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Joseph Nix, 26, of Windsor, Ky., charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Robert Weston, 43, of Nancy, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Amanda Rowe, 22, of Crab Orchard, Ky., charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Donnie Glover, 38, of Eubank, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Bobby Mink, 65, of Somerset, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Tarmarcus Clemons, 26, of Somerset, charged with first- and second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Sandra Duncan, 31, of Eubank, charged with first- and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Jeffrey Poole, 47, of Somerset, charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Joshua Davis, 29, of Somerset, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Mark Barbazote, 26, of Somerset, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• David Shelton, 52, of Whitley City, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Natasha Perkins, 30, of Somerset, charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Jimmy Whitson, 58, of Somerset, charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
• Nichole Cassidy, 43, of Somerset, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Katherine Jones, 48, of Somerset, charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Bryan Shelton, 32, of Ferguson, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Dakota Lawless, 25, of Somerset, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Christopher Glover, 32, of Somerset, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Elizabeth Morgan, 54, of Eubank, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Brittany Playforth, 23, of Somerset, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Joyce Pittman, 54, of Crab Orchard, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Daniel Lang, 26, of Crab Orchard, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Charles Jones, 64, of Somerset, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Denzil Smith, 41, of Somerset, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense, and persistent felony offender. 
• Jerry Powell, 56, of Nancy, charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Tonya Hollis, 35, of Nancy, charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
ª James Ping, 41, of Somerset, charged with first- and second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender. 
• Katherine Ping, 38, of Somerset, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Suzanne Gossett, 44, of Nancy, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Wade Keeney, 33, of Somerset, charged with first- and second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender. 
• Paul Mink, 43, of Somerset, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Samuel Morris Jr., 34, of Nancy, charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and second-degree persistent felony offender. 
• Tammy Taylor, 44, of Science Hill, charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Kristopher Saddler, 25, of Bronston, charged with two counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Tina Blevins, 45, of Middleburg, Ky., charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense and second-degree persistent felony offender. 
• James Hatton, 36, of Somerset, charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Sonya Gambrel, 40, of Somerset, charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Ravindrakumar Patel, 26, of Somerset, charged with first- and second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Christopher Ford, 27, of Somerset, charged with three counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. 
• Mark Todd, 35, of Crab Orchard, Ky., charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender. 
Smith said that, as of Wednesday afternoon, 21 arrests had been made. 
“The benefit of this is the fact that we get these traffickers off the streets,” said Smith. 
Anyone with information about defendants’ locations or with information on illegal drug activity are encouraged to use the Somerset Police Department’s 24-Hour Crime Tip Line or text/email tip programs. The tip line phone number is at (606) 676-TIPS. 
To report information via text message, simply compose a new message to “CRIMES” and include “SOMERSETPD” and the tip in the message. SPD’s Facebook site and web page have links to the web-based tip-reporting page. 
All tip reporting methods are confidential and anonymous.