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Meth-related cases on rise

9 of 15 new indictments are related to meth crimes

Nine of 15 people named in new felony indictments returned by the Letcher County Grand Jury face charges related to the manufacture or possession of the extremely addictive stimulant methamphetamine.

Four of the nine named in the most recent indictments handed up to Letcher Circuit Judge James W. Craft II are charged with manufacturing methamphetamine in a car in West Whitesburg on June 24.

They are Steven Alex Moore, 36, (also known as Stephen Alex Moore, Steven Brian Moore, and Steven Bryan Moore) of 687 Mallie Road, Mallie; Timothy Everett Hogan, 34, of 6160 Hwy. 931 S, Whitesburg; Elizabeth Justice, 25, of 1214 Left Fork Bull Creek, Prestonsburg, and Erin Metheney, 31, of 2256 Hwy. 1148, Isom.

The four are among five persons who were arrested near the community of Ice after Moore led police on a chase that began at the Double Kwik convenience store in West Whitesburg after City Police Officer Sara Damron tried to pull Moore’s 2003 Ford Taurus over for a safety check. Damron took the action after seeing that none of the car’s occupants were wearing seatbelts and determining through a computer check that no one had an insurance policy on the car.

The grand jury indicted Moore on charges of manufacturing meth (first offense), possession of a meth precursor (first offense), possession of drug paraphernalia, six counts of wanton endangerment (first degree), fleeing or evading police (first degree, on foot), fleeing or evading police (first degree, motor vehicle), wanton endangerment (second degree), no/ expired registration plates and operating on suspended or revoked operator’s license.

The grand jury says Moore endangered Kentucky State Police detectives David Slone and Randy Combs and Officer Damron. He is also accused of endangering co-defendants Hogan, Metheney and Justice, as well as Chamanna Shakara Hall, a 25-year-old Whitesburg woman who was arrested with the other four in June but was not indicted.

In a separate indictment, Moore is charged with escaping from the Letcher County Jail on July 20 after the grand jury heard from Deputy Jailer Ben Fields, who testified that Moore cut through a fence surrounding the jail’s recreation area atop the Letcher County Courthouse and slid down a flagpole. The indictment makes no mention of truck Moore allegedly stole from a bank parking lot and drove to Knott County during his escape.

Hogan, Justice and Metheney are each charged with manufacturing meth (first offense), possession of meth precursor (first offense), possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of wanton endangerment (first degree). Justice was also indicted on a charge of fleeing or evading police (first degree, on foot).

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine comes in several forms and can be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected.

The drug can be used medically for the treatment of ADHD and obesity. However, the form of meth that is manufactured and sold to addicts and other users in Letcher County is called “shake and bake” and includes ingredients such as the decongestant pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), fertilizer, Coleman lantern fuel, cold compress packs, lithium batteries, lye and drain cleaners that contain sulfuric acid. The mixture can be highly combustible and has been known to cause explosions in cars and homes.

Abusers of the drug start out loving its euphoric and aphrodisiac qualities, but later suffer from heart disease and severe brain damage after becoming addicted. Addicts also suffer extreme weight loss and a condition the American Dental Association calls “meth mouth,” which is defined as severe tooth decay, loss of teeth and other oral problems resulting from the use of methamphetamine.

The grand jury also indicted two other people accused of making meth through the shake and bake method at Isom. They are:

• Randy G. Amburgey, 31, of 2123 Hwy. 1148, Isom, who is accused of making meth and tampering with evidence on July 9. The jury indicted Amburgey on charges of manufacturing meth (first offense), possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with physical evidence and public intoxication controlled substance (excludes alcohol)

In a separate indictment, Amburgey is charged with tampering with physical evidence, criminal mischief (first degree) and promoting contraband (first degree).

Amburgey is accused of damaging property belonging to the Letcher County Jail and introducing dangerous contraband into the jail. Deputy Jailer Fields also testified in that case.

• Melissa Cook, 35, of 177 Allen K. Hollow, Isom, who is indicted on a charge of criminal conspiracy to manufacturing meth (first offense).

The grand jury heard from Kentucky State Trooper Scott Caudill before returning the indictments against Amburgey and Cooks.

In a separate case, the grand jury indicted Timothy Shawn Hall, 40, of 8665 Hwy. 317, Deane, on charges of possession of a controlled substance (meth, first degree, first offense), public intoxication controlled substance (excludes alcohol) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The grand jury says Hall possessed meth on June 22 and appeared in a public place under the influence of a controlled substance. That indictment was returned after the jury heard from Whitesburg Police Officer Michael Blair.

The grand jury also returned meth-related indictments in connection with an investigation conducted by Jenkins City Police last January 14. Named are Allan Brimmer II, 23, and Gloria Brimmer, 23, both of 329 Elaine Rd., Premium, and 146 Libby Lane, Jenkins. Both are indicted on a charge of possession of a meth precursor, or a product or combination of products used in manufacturing meth. Those indictments were returned after the grand jury heard from Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens.

Others indicted by the grand jury and the charges against them are:

• Eddie Rocky Sandlin — First-degree possession of controlled substance (cocaine, first offense) and giving officer false name or address.

The grand jury says Sandlin, 38, of 1130 Pert Creek Rd., Whitesburg, possessed cocaine, a Schedule II narcotic, on July 3 and gave a false identification to an officer.

Whitesburg Police Office Paul Byron Sparkman testified in the case.

• Michael Boyd — Theft by unlawful taking (valued at more than $500, less than $10,000) and being a persistent felony offender.

Boyd, 36, of 644 Dorton Creek Rd., Dorton, is charged with taking a 12-foot trailer/motorcycle hauler on April 27, belonging to Lacy Adams and valued at more than $2,000.

Lacy Adams testified in the case.

• Billy J. Honeycutt — Theft by unlawful taking (valued at $500 or more).

The grand jury says Honeycutt, 31, of P.O. Box 153, Jenkins, took property on March 1 belonging to Thomas Johnson valued at $500 or more.

In a separate indictment, Honeycutt is charged with burglary (second degree) for entering a dwelling belonging to Jennifer Adams between January 1 and February 23.

Stephens, the Jenkins police chief, testified in both cases.

• Trent Gayheart — Burglary (second degree).

Gayheart, 28, of Bill Moore Branch, Whitesburg; 30 #6 Hollow, Jenkins, and 1087 Beech Fall Rd., Leburn, is charged with burglary (second degree) for entering a dwelling belonging to Jennifer Adams between January 1 and February 23.

Stephens also testified in that case.

• Shane Curtis Martin — Trafficking in marijuana (less than 8 ounces, second or greater offense), public intoxication controlled substance (excludes alcohol), possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and being a persistent felony offender (second degree).

Martin, 37, of 139 Seco Dr., Seco, is charged with possession of and trafficking in marijuana, and appearing in a public place while under the influence of a controlled substance on June 18.

KSP Trooper Caudill testified in that case.

• Jeremy S. Ritchie — Promoting contraband (first degree) and being a persistent felony offender (first degree).

Ritchie, 34, of 120 Shadow Dr., Neon, is charged with possessing danger contraband, gabapentin, while confined in the Letcher County Jail on June 23.

Fields, the deputy jailer, testified in the case.



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