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Drug probe leads to stolen guns, jewelry, and coins


One man has been arrested and an investigation is ongoing into guns, jewelry, and coins found in a storage building in Letcher County, after the sheriff ’s department obtained a search warrant in a drug investigation.

“We believe these are the benefits or proceeds from drug activity,” Letcher County Sheriff Mickey Stines said.

The sheriff ’s office served two search warrants at storage units at Ermine and Mayking on Thursday, and found two AR-15 type rifles, assorted jewelry and boxes of collector coins, Stines said.

Photos of the items show stack of coins in plastic holders used by collectors to prevent them from being scratched. Some appear to be mint sets or proof sets, the highest quality coins that collectors can buy.

Stines placed the face value of the coins at about $2,000, but said all are worth more than face value to collectors. One coin, which Stines said is not in the best condition, can be worth as much as $60,000 in mint condition. The rifles, he said, are not extremely valuable. One is .22 caliber AR-type rife. The other is a .223 AR-type. Stines said the rifles would be legal, but because the renters of the storage units are convicted felons, they are not allowed to be in possession of any firearms.

The search warrants for the storage buildings are sealed pending completion of the investigation.

Stines said one person is already in jail on methamphetamine related charges, but has not yet been charged in this investigation. A second was arrested as a result of the search. Warrants are pending for a third man, Stines said.

Stines declined to name the men because of the investigation, however court records show Sean Anthony Ihla, 31, of 55 Goldenrod Dr. at Thornton, was arrested about 10:30 Thursday night at Mountain Breeze Apartments in Jenkins. He was charged under a warrant obtained by Stines with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He has since been released on bond.

The warrant accuses Ihla of possessing the two AR-15s that were recovered from the storage building. The storage building was rented with Ihla’s identification at the request of another man, according to court records.

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