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Police arrest 12 in cocaine sweep

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11 live in Hodgenville

By Jeff D'Alessio

A seven-month drug investigation into a two-county cocaine trafficking ring in Hardin and LaRue counties landed 12 people in jail Thursday as well as several others on drug charges from other investigations. In all, 20 people who live in Hodgenville were arrested.

The ages of those arrested ranged from 23 to 67. All arrested in the cocaine drug ring face felony charges and additional arrests are expected as the investigation continues, according to a Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force news release.

“It’s a pretty good-sized group,” said task force Direc­tor Ron Eckart. “Some are some of your major movers and some of them are your street dealers.”

Eckart said LaRue County became part of the task force in 2013 and the investigation is a result of having a presence in the community getting drug tips and leads into possible activity.

“It’s a lot of the cocaine that was in Hodgenville and at times came into Hardin County,” Eckart said.

He said based upon information obtained, police believe cocaine was brought into the area and then sold “for an ounce here and an ounce there and then some with four or five ounces.”

The narcotics task force was assisted by officers from the LaRue County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police.

The investigation into the drug ring started last December. All arrested are lodged in the LaRue County Detention Center.

Eckart said arrests started around 5:30 a.m. Thursday and were scattered over the next several hours. Two men were arrested in Nashville by Tennessee officials while working on a mowing crew.

These 12 were arrested from indictments issued from a LaRue County grand jury:

  • Artie Price, 29. Engaging in organized crime; first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense (cocaine); possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Betty J. Cox, 51. Engaging in organized crime; persistent felony offender.
  • Vera Weathers, 56. Engaging in organized crime; first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense (cocaine); trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Joey Sallee, 31. Engaging in organized crime; first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense (cocaine); two counts trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Craig S. Phillips, 40. Engaging in organized crime
  • Cherry Sheppard, 56. Engaging in organized crime; first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense (cocaine); trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Jason A. Lee, 42, Louisville. Engaging in organized crime; four counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense (cocaine); four counts trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school; persistent felony offender.
  • Jamarquis V. Hand­ley, 31. Engaging in organized crime; four counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense (cocaine); second-degree trafficking controlled substance, first offense (hydrocodone); two counts trafficking controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school; persistent felony offender.
  • Horace Barbour, 67. Engaging in organized crime; two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense (cocaine); four counts trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Derek Shelton, 32. Engaging in organized crime; first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense (cocaine); trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Jamie Handley, 39. Engaging in organized crime; two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense (cocaine); trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Tyrone M. Lee, 33. Engaging in organized crime; first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense (cocaine); trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

Nine other residents of Hodgenville also were arrested Thursday through grand jury indictments and district court warrants from other ongoing drug trafficking investigations in LaRue County.

  • Michael Whitaker, 54. Third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense (clonazepam); trafficking controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • William W. Preston, 50. Trafficking in marijuana more than 8 ounces, first offense; drug paraphernalia (possession).
  • Cory Stark, 24. Trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces, first offense.
  • Tussie K. Harper, 23. Two counts trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces, first offense; second-degree possession of controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Brandon N. Horn­back, 30. Two counts second-degree trafficking in controlled substance, first offense (hydrocodone).
  • Loretta J. Horn­back, 26. Second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense (hydrocodone).
  • Robert B. Howard, 26. Second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense (hydrocodone).
  • Victor Cox, 48. Possession of marijuana; drug paraphernalia possession; convicted felon in possession of firearm; receiving stolen property-firearm.
  • Meghan R. Slayton, 37. Second-degree possession of controlled substance; drug paraphernalia possession.

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.