A former reality show cast member from Mayking was one of 11 people arrested yesterday in a drug roundup in Letcher County.
“Snake Man of Appalachia” debuted in January 12, 2012 on Animal Planet, just four months before Verlin Short, 42, of 49 Cleo Loop, allegedly sold Oxycodone and Percocet to a confidential informant.
Short has been charged with two counts of firstdegree trafficking in a controlled substance. He is accused of selling a quantity of Oxycodone less than 10 dosage units to a confidential informant on April 24, 2012. He is also charged with knowingly selling a quantity of Percocet less than 10 dosage units to a confidential informant later than same day, according to information on the arrest warrant.
Short is lodged in the Letcher County Jail and his bond is set at $5,000 cash or property.
“Snake Man of Appalachia” followed Verlin Short as he attended snake-handling church services and caught copperheads and rattlesnakes in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Short’s wife and children were also a part of the reality show.
A film crew first shot footage of the Short family for the pilot episode in the spring of 2010. Animal Planet ordered five more episodes and the sevenperson film crew came back to Letcher County in the fall of 2010 to shoot the extra footage.
The show also tackled the issue of Short wanting to legally practice snake handling. During the course of the six episodes Verlin Short pursues the idea of obtaining permits to collect more snakes and to legally transport the reptiles.
In June 2008, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife charged Short with 78 misdemeanor charges of illegally buying, selling and possessing venomous snakes. Fish and Wildlife Resources Officer Homer Pigman filed 51 additional charges against Short in October 2008.
Short pleaded guilty to seven counts of illegally buying, selling and transporting reptiles. He was fined $100 for each of the counts and did not receive any jail time for the offenses.
Short was arrested on the drug charges after a two-year joint investigation with the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department, Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations (DESI) East, KSP Post 13 in Hazard and Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA).
“All of our drug investigations start when we get complaints from other citizens stating that drug transactions are going on in their communities,” said Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb.
Webb said he is often asked why it takes awhile to arrest a drug dealer after an undercover informant makes a drug purchase. Webb said investigators continue to buy drugs from more people in order to make additional arrests.
“This is the first part of it and we don’t like to arrest a great number at one time because it overflows the court system,” said Webb. “We would rather do 10 to 15 at a time and continue the investigation.”
Others arrested Tuesday and their charges are listed below:
• Timothy Adams, 46, of 65 Angel Road, Whitesburg — second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Suboxone) and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Xanax).
• William H. Adams, 64, of 76 Bach Court, Whites- burg — second- degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Hydrocodone).
• William Lee Adams, 45, of Mayking — seconddegree trafficking in a controlled substance (Suboxone).
• Cynthia Adams, 39, of Mayking — second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Suboxone).
• Angel Coomer, 51, of 223 Harrison Branch, Isom — second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Hydrocodone).
• John Coomer, 56, of 223 Harrison Branch, Isom — second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Hydrocodone).
• Oscar Craft, 59, of 186 Eileen Drive, Mayking — first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Methadone) and seconddegree trafficking in a controlled substance (Hydrocodone and Suboxone).
• Bennett Matthew Kincer, 30, of 132 Eileen Drive, Mayking — second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (Subutex).
• Steve M. Waddell, 45, of Mayking — seconddegree trafficking in a controlled substance (Hydrocodone).