After more than year of work, Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell and his deputies went knocking on doors Thursday morning in search of 14 suspected drug dealers, and two thieves.
“He kept the buy money,” Harrell said of Kenneth Barnhill, 46, whose arrest warrant was for theft by unlawful taking. “He went right out the back door with it.”
Harrell and his deputies along with Kentucky State Police and Whitley County constables Lonnie Foley and Andy Moses spread out across the count about 8 a.m. to pick up the individuals for whom they had secured warrants.
Deputies did not need to look far to find their first suspect. Judith Meadors, 52, of Canadatown was already incarcerated at the Whitley County Detention Center.
Arrested in the first sweep were:
• Johnny Satterfield, 34, of Williamsburg
• Danny Whitehead, 52, of Williamsburg
• Phyllis Whitehead, 50, of Williamsburg
• Michael Leach, 25, of Williamsburg
• Melissa Newberry, 34, of Williamsburg
Kentucky State Police went to Knox County in search of: Robert Leach, 45, of Gray, Martin Price, 42, of Heidrick, Matthew Johnson, 38, of Flat Lick and Tonya Estep, also of Flat Lick. Harrell said none of them were located, but the search will continue.
By early afternoon Thursday, Harrell reported that Diedra Partin, 52, of Williamsburg and Barnhill had both been taken into custody.
The remaining suspects include:
• David Vanderpool, 52, of Williamsburg
• Donald Hurst, 42, of Williamsburg
• Lovetta Bryant, 51, of Williamsburg
• Wendy Day, 33, of Williamsburg
Harrell said with the exception of Barnhill and Day, who both are accused of pocketing the buy money, confidential informants purchased prescription pain medications from the suspects at some point within the last year. As a result, deputies secured arrest warrants charging each individual with at least one count of trafficking in a controlled substance.
As Satterfield was led from his home by Deputy Kirk Mays, he said he had been the middleman for a single Suboxine pill on two different occasions to help out family members.
In most cases, the arrest warrants indicated the individuals had sold one or two pills to the confidential informant.
Harrell said it is not the number of pills, but the fact that the individuals are selling the pills in Whitley County.
“That is what the statute is, is selling pills,” Harrell said. “We want to get them off the street whether they are selling one or two or three. Selling one is a felony.”
Harrell credited Detective Sgt. Tim Baker for his efforts that led to securing the arrest warrants.
“I promise you there will be plenty more,” Harrell said.