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Man charged after search OK’d

Sheriff ’s office says oxycodone pills, record haul of fake pot found


This photo shows the cash, oxycodone pills, Opana pills, synthetic marijuana and other drugs found in a Payne Gap home after the owner permitted a deputy sheriff to search it without a warrant. (Photo by Sally Barto)

This photo shows the cash, oxycodone pills, Opana pills, synthetic marijuana and other drugs found in a Payne Gap home after the owner permitted a deputy sheriff to search it without a warrant. (Photo by Sally Barto)

Police found more than 600 packs of synthetic marijuana and more than 500 oxycodone tablets hidden inside a Payne Gap residence Sunday evening.

“This is the biggest find of synthetics in Letcher County history,” said Lt. Brian Damron of the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department.

Police went to Lawrence Sexton’s residence located at 41 Bellaire Drive on June 29 after a detective with the Wise County Sheriff ’s Department in Virginia had told Damron that a fugitive from Virginia was at the home. Police found Russell Peaks, 38, of 10229 Cumbow Road, Pound, Va. hiding inside the home, Damron said. Both sheriff departments had been working for a few months trying to locate Peaks.

After police took Peaks into custody, Damron asked Sexton, 55, for consent to search his residence for controlled substances. After Sexton approved Damron’s request, Damron said he found about 300 of the synthetic marijuana packs hidden inside a large Alpo dog food bag, which was located inside a closet behind a bag containing actual dog food.

The opioid pain medication Opana, approximately $4,000 in cash and digital scales were also found at Sexton’s house, Damron said.

Damron estimates that the packets of synthetic marijuana sell for $30 to $50 apiece. The oxycodone tablets varying in milligrams — such as 15, 30 and 40 — sell on the street for $1 a milligram. The opioid pain medication Opana and digital scales were also found at Sexton’s house, Damron said.

“We have had several complaints in the past of Mr. Sexton having drug involvement,” said Damron. “For the most part, the complaints were of him selling controlled substances. We had attempted controlled buys and a reverse buy, both of which didn’t work out.”

Sexton is charged with second-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of synthetic drugs (class B misdemeanor) and buy/possess drug paraphernalia.

Peaks is charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and first-degree possession of a controlled substance.

Sexton and Peaks are being held in the Letcher County Jail. Bond is $100,000 cash each for Sexton and Peaks.

Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb credits the Letcher County Fiscal Court for passing an ordinance prohibiting the selling or possessing of synthetic drugs in helping the sheriff ’s department keep large quantities of synthetic drugs out of the county.

Damron said synthetic drugs are appealing to someone who is on a budget. Drug users get more bang for their buck by purchasing synthetic drugs, Damron said, but synthetic drugs are more dangerous than smoking marijuana.

“When you smoke this it has an instant effect on the body as in eating holes in your lungs and making your blood pressure skyrocket,” said Damron.

Damron has charge of the investigation. The Wise County Sheriff ’s Department, Kentucky State Police Trooper Scott Caudill and Letcher County Sheriff ’s Deputy Travis Cantrell assisted in the case.


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