Six Letcher County residents charged accused of trafficking in drugs are scheduled to formally answer the charges against them this week in Letcher District Court.
Officers with the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department and Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force (HIDTA) served arrest warrants October 10. The drugs, the specific types of which are not listed on the arrest citations, were allegedly sold to cooperating witnesses. Apparently, all of the drugs allegedly sold to the witnesses are listed as Schedule III drugs under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. Schedule III drugs include stimulants, depressants, mild narcotics and steroids.
“We understand that the drug problem in Letcher County is a serious one and we make every attempt when citizens contact us to investigate their complaints,” said Lt. Brian Damron with the sheriff ’s department. “Numerous complaints were called in about drug trafficking in Whitco and as a result we were able to make an arrest.”
Damron said the sheriff ’s department has several on-going investigations concerning drug trafficking in the county.
“The investigations differ from what they used to because in order to charge someone we have new guidelines to go by under House Bill 463.” Passed by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law in March 2011 by Governor Steve Beshear, HB 463 reduces penalties for certain nonviolent drug crimes.
The six arrested are charged with second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, meaning they allegedly sold 20 or more “dosage units” of a Schedule III drug or 10 or fewer dosage units of the more highly regulated Schedule I or Schedule II drugs.
• Belinda Hall, 50, 42 CSX Drive, Whitesburg
• Donna F. Hampton, 50, of 50 Riverside Trailer Court, Whitesburg
• Dennis R. Hatton, 57, of 82 Whitco Loop, Whitesburg
• Margie Ison, 57, of 84 Bach Court, Apt. 124, Whitesburg
• Joseph L. Sturgill, 61, of 808 Pert Creek Road, Whitesburg
• Danielle Sturgill, 31, 26 Skipper Drive, Whitesburg
Second-degree trafficking in controlled substances is a Class D felony punishable by up to three years in prison.