Nine people from the tri-county area were among 479 that were arrested in a state-wide sweep of suspected drug dealers by Kentucky State Police Friday.
The operation entitled, “Operation Black Friday,” was the result of an eight month investigation of multiple tips from local citizens via phone class, messages, letters and information to anonymous tips lines.
Before daybreak state police from the department’s 16 posts, along with KSP Drug Enforcement Special Investigations (DESI) Branch, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, along with local and federal law enforcement, began serving warrants and taking individuals in to custody.
Individuals arrested locally and the charges they face included:
• Marvin D. Carter, 47, of Woodbine, is charged with three counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree and one count of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree in Whitley County.
• Helen J. Canada, 48, of Woodbine, is charged with two counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree and one count of Trafficking in a Legend Drug in Whitley County.
• Jammy D. Poore, 38, of Rockhold, is charged with one count of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree in Whitley County.
• Wesley Varga, 34, of Woodbine, is charged with three counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree Boyle County.
• Timothy A. Kersey, 34, of Williamsburg, is charged with three counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree in Whitley County.
• Timothy W. Curnutt, 39, of Williamsburg, is charged with three counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree in Whitley County.
• Kristy L. Baker, 34, of Barbourville, is charged with three counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree in Whitley County.
• James Bell, 44, of Barbourville, is charged with four counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree in Whitley County.
Trooper Lloyd, Chochran, public affairs officer at post 11 in London, said a joint investigation by state police and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives led to the arrest of four in individuals in the Williamsburg area on charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs, distribution of controlled substance and several firearms related charges.
The individuals included:
Garey Croley, 47, of Gatlif
Johnny Blakley, 50, of Williamsburg
Lois J. White, 49, of Williamsburg
Travis White, 30, of Williamsburg
The individuals were charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, 17 counts of distribution of a controlled substance, five counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, one count of possession of a firearm which is not registered in the national firearms register and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer stated that while most of the individuals arrested in the sweep are what the KSP terms, “low-level” offenders, it is important to target them as they are the people that are seen in communities across the state selling drugs.
"Citizens are tired of perpetual offenders who are disrupting neighborhoods and participating in other criminal mischief," Brewer stated, noting most of the charges were related to prescription drugs, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine.
While many of the arrests today are low level targets, it is very probably that we will obtain information from them that will lead to arrests of more significant dealers and drug operations."
Brewer encouraged citizens to be vigilant in reporting drug activity and suspicious behavior in their local communities.
"We provide multiple avenues for people to anonymously report information, including a toll free tip-line 1-(800) DOPE TIP and the ‘Text-A-Tip’ program," says Brewer. "We have received 842 tips through the tip-line and 302 tips from the ‘Text-A-Tip’ program. This is a great example of successful community policing, where law enforcement partners with local citizens to remove criminals from their communities."