2017-10-25 / Front Page

Police still looking for 9 drug suspects on indictment list

A Kentucky State Police drug investigation that began early in 2016 has resulted in felony indictments being returned against 21 people in Letcher County on charges ranging from complicity to trafficking in unspecified drugs to trafficking in heroin and methamphetamine. Some face multiple charges.

Thirteen of the suspects indicted were arrested October 20 in Letcher County during a roundup conducted by state police, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers, and Fish and Wildlife officers. The arrests resulted from undercover drug buys going back as far back as January 2016, and involved the Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement and Special Investigations unit, as well as Post 13 in Hazard, sources said.

More arrests are expected in the coming days as the other indictment warrants are served. Police took some of those arrested to the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard, and some to the Letcher County Jail. Some were released on bond the same day, but others remain in jail.

Those arrested and the charges against them are as follows:

• Bennett Banks, 39 of Deane, was charged with first-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance first offense. The crime allegedly occurred on Aug. 25, 2016. Det. Chad Easterling testified before the grand jury.

• Sonia Breeding, 41, of Wolfpen Creek in Knott County, was charged with one count of second-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance first offense. The offense allegedly occurred July 7, 2016. Det. Wes Sandlin testified in the case.

• Scotty Couch, 44 of Littcarr, was charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. The drug was not specified. The alleged crime took place on April 13, 2016. KSP Det. Easterling testified before the grand jury.

• James O. Elswick, 36, of Sandlick, was charged with two counts of firstdegree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, of less than 2 grams of meth. The crimes allegedly occurred on March 22 and March 30, 2017. Det. Sandlin testified in the case.

• Eric Frazier, 35 of Whitesburg, was charged with two counts of firstdegree trafficking in a controlled substance (less than 2 grams of heroin), two counts of trafficking firstdegree trafficking in a controlled substance (less than 2 grams of methamphetamine) and four counts of being a first-degree persistent felony offender. The crimes allegedly took place between Aug. 23, 2016, and May 23, 2017. Det. Easterling testified.

• Harold Gibson, 56, of Loves Branch, was charged with two counts of firstdegree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, first offense. The crimes allegedly occurred on March 21, 2016 and March 23, 2016. KSP Det. Wes Sandlin testified.

• Karen Hall, 48 of Deane, was charged with first-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance first offense. The crime allegedly occurred on Aug. 5, 2016. Det. Easterling testified.

• Megan Littrell, 32 of Crafts Colly, was charged with one count of complicity to second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and four counts of second-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, second offense. The charges date from the April 25, 2016, through April 20, 2017. She was charged with Shaun W. Hammonds of Whitesburg. Det. Easterling testified.

• Brittany Maggard, 27, of Thornton, was charged with three counts of first-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, first offense. The crimes allegedly took place from June 17, 2016, to July 19, 2016. Det. Sandlin testified.

• Dusty Shell, 27 of Whitesburg, was charged with second-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, first offense, and being a firstdegree persistent felony offender. The crime allegedly occurred on Aug. 5, 2016. Det. Sandlin testified.

• Paul Daniel Patton, 41, whose address is listed as both Whitesburg and Mallie, was charged with first degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, first offense. The crime allegedly occurred Aug. 5, 2016. Det. Sandlin testified.

• Steve Sandlin, 39, of Dry Fork, was charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, of less than 2 grams of meth. The offense allegedly occurred on April 4, 2017. Det. Wes Sandlin testified in the case.

• Phillip Wright, 39, Jackhorn was charged with complicity to second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. The crime allegedly occurred on May 22, 2017. He was charged with Tya Lucas of Whitesburg, who has not yet been arrested. Det. Sandlin testified.

In addition to those already arrested, the grand jury returned indictments against eight others. Those indicted but not yet in custody are:

• Jessica Adams, 35, of Loves Branch, was charged with one count of first-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, first offense, on Feb. 2, 2016. Det. Sandlin testified.

• Easter Blanton, 42, of Loves Branch was charged with one count of first-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance on April 12, 2016. Det. Sandlin testified.

• Maxine Collins, 45, of Whitesburg was charged with one count of first-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, first offense, on Sept. 14, 2016. Det. Sandlin testified.

• Jason Scott Cook, 36, of Whitesburg was charged with one count of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (less than 2 grams of meth), first offense, on March 30, 2017. Det. Easterling testified.

• Debra L. Dotson, 38, of Doty Creek was charged with one count of first-degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, first offense, on July 12, 2016. Det. Easterling testified.

• Dwight Gibson, 23, of Pistol City was charged with two counts of firstdegree trafficking in a controlled substance (less than 2 grams of meth), first offense on May 23, 2017. Det. Sandlin testified.

• Shaun W. Hammonds, age unavailable, of Crafts Colly was charged with one count of complicity to second degree trafficking in an unspecified controlled substance, second offense, on April 20, 2017. He was charged along with Megan Littrell. Easterling testified in the case.

• Tya Lucas, 32, of Whitesburg was charged with one count of complicity to second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, on May 22, 2017. She was charged along with Phillip Wright. Det. Sandlin testified in the case.

• Travis B. Toler, 31, of Whitesburg was charged with three counts of second degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, on March 30, 2017. Det. Easterling testified before the grand jury.

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