Whitesburg KY

Two didn’t cooperate in sting that led to marijuana arrest

A Harlan County couple say they were not acting as informants when a 52-year-old Bottom Fork man was arrested on marijuana trafficking charges last month.

Amber N. Stepp and John D. Sergent, both 18, say they had no knowledge that a man they had given a ride to from Cumberland would end up working with police in a case which led to the arrest of Danny R. Collins of Bottom Fork on September 7.

The couple say they also had no knowledge that the man who they say acted as the informant in the arrest, Jason M. Crase of Linefork, was bringing marijuana to Letcher County when they agreed to give him a ride.

Crase, Stepp and Sergent were arrested by Sheriff’s Lieutenant M.K. Terry and charged with trafficking in marijuana after a search of the car Stepp was driving turned up what Terry called “a large brick of marijuana.”

Stepp and Sergent said they agreed to give Crase a ride to Mayking after they found him walking near the entrance to Kingdom Come State Park in Cumberland. The couple said Crase told them that he was on his way to Letcher County to spend the night, and that they assumed the bag he was carrying contained clothes instead of marijuana.

“I knew him from when he lived in Cumberland years ago,” John Sergent told The Mountain Eagle on September 26.

Amber Stepp told The Eagle she had no idea marijuana was in Crase’s bag when she gave Lieutenant Terry permission to search her 1994 Honda.

“He just paid us $20 for a ride over there,” she said.

The couple said that after they were arrested they were driven to the parking lot of a restaurant near Pine Mountain Junction and placed into another sheriff’s department cruiser for the ride to jail. They said Crase remained in the other vehicle and did not go to jail with them.

The couple said they have been “threatened” and “ridiculed” since a previous report mentioned that Collins was arrested after a marijuana purchase was set up by a confidential informant.

They say that informant is Crase.

“He (Terry) testified in the preliminary hearing that Jason Crase admitted it was his stuff,” said Amber Stepp.

The charges against Crase, Stepp and Sergent have been referred to a Letcher County grand jury.

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