Williamsburg police efforts to find a man, who has been missing since late 2003, inadvertently led officers to an alleged marijuana transaction last week that resulted in the recovery of about $20,000 cash and nearly 12 pounds of processed marijuana.
On Sept. 12 about 6:30 p.m. Williamsburg Police Detective Bobby Freeman charged Johnny W. Johnson, 57, of Powers Hollow Road, and Michael Rose, 50, of 5970 E904, with first-offense trafficking in marijuana over five pounds.
Williamsburg police initially went to Rose’s residence, which is located about 10 miles east of Williamsburg, in reference to a missing person investigation.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said that officers were in that particular area after receiving new information about a missing person case involving Roger Sasko, who was last seen in November 2003 in the Gatliff community.
They were following up on new leads when they got sidetracked by interrupting a marijuana transaction that was taking place in Rose’s drive way, Bird said.
"We drove right in on it," Bird noted.
After further investigation, police found about five pounds of processed marijuana inside Johnson’s van, which prompted a further search of the property and the vehicles there, Bird wrote in a press release.
Police also found a large amount of money under the driver’s seat in Johnson’s van and inside his wallet, according to his arrest citation.
During the subsequent search, police found about seven additional pounds of processed marijuana in another vehicle that was in Rose’s driveway. Police also found several bottles of pills and a large amount of cash on Rose and in a shed on his property, according to his arrest citation.
In all, police seized about $20,000 cash and numerous pills believed to be schedule II and schedule III controlled substances.
Police also seized two vehicles and one 2010 Polaris Ranger UTV, according to the press release.
Bird estimated that the Mexican-grown processed marijuana had a street value over $15,000.
The marijuana bust isn’t the largest in the department’s history, but Bird said that it is one of the larger busts in recent memory.
Rose and Johnson were both lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center and released on bond about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Other officers assisting at the scene included: Bird, Sgt. Mike Taylor, Officer Brandon White, K-9 Officer Brandon Prewitt and his partner, Rico, and Kentucky State Police Trooper Les Moses.
Bird and Freeman are continuing the investigation into the marijuana case and will present the case to the Whitley County Grand Jury.
After Sasko was reported missing during the first week of November 2003, members of his family received some letters or postcards reportedly from Sasko shortly after he disappeared, but the authenticity of those correspondents hasn’t been determined.
The letters reported that Sasko was traveling, and bore a Lexington postmark.
Police said Sasko lived near Ky. 904 in the Gatliff area, and that it was considered unusual for him to stay out of touch with his family for this long.
In March 2007, law enforcement agencies and search groups spent two days in the Gatliff/Verne area looking for his remains.
During that time, police used an excavator to dig up a spot on property that Sasko and his wife owned but turned up nothing.
The spot was dug up after nine out of 10 dogs trained in the detection of human remains indicated the possible presence of human remains there.
Bird said that police recently obtained some new information about the case but said he couldn’t elaborate on what that information was because of the ongoing investigation.
"If you have seen this man or have any information you can contact the Williamsburg Police Department at 606-549-6087 or you can contact the Kentucky State Police at 606-878-6622," Bird added.