TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

July 5, 2013

Two arrested for drugs in Whitley

‘And several more arrests are coming’ —Police Chief Wayne Bird


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN —

By John L. Ross, Staff Writer

“We’re coming.”

Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird made that announcement Wednesday after a pair of arrests in Whitley County earlier this week.

The two suspects arrested are among approximately a dozen others arrested since a bomb and a meth lab were found at a Canadatown residence in March.

Just after midnight Wednesday morning, officers with the Williamsburg Police Department, the Kentucky State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives descended on a Gibson Lane residence in Canadatown in reference to an investigation into illegal drug activity in that area.

According to KSP Trooper First Class Don Trosper, when law enforcement arrived, they could smell chemical odors, and as they approached the residence, the smell grew stronger.

Trosper said when they got on the porch, officers saw — in plain sight — a duffel bag emanating smoke and vapor. He added they could also see an HCL generator inside, usually used in the manufacture of meth.

Also seen on the same porch were other items associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Trooper Tony Dingess arrested Jamie M. Gibson, 41, of Williamsburg, who now faces his first offense of manufacturing methamphetamine and second-degree possession of a controlled substance. He remains jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center under a $50,000 cash bond.

The day before, officers with each of those three law enforcement agencies arrested another man, 33-year-old Harrison B. Sulfridge, of Williamsburg.

Trosper said law enforcement officers met in the parking lot of a church on Young Creek Cemetery Road.

According to Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, the group planned to continue an investigation into the Canadatown community’s drug problem.

When they arrived, parked in the lot behind the church was a black Chevrolet Trailblazer with one man inside.

The driver was asked why he was at the church, but no reason was known. After a brief investigation, officers discovered a substance suspected to be meth, as well as items used to make the drug.

“It just so happened he had pills and a knife,” Bird said. “And when checking the waistband area (of his clothes) we found a few grams of methamphetamine.”

Dingess arrested Sulfridge, who now faces charges of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, and carrying a concealed weapon. He remains jailed at the WCDC under a $25,000 cash bond.

“’This was all part of the federal indictments that came about concerning meth manufacturing,” Bird said, referring to indictments handed down in March. “This is an ongoing federal case.”

In May, a dozen people were named on a federal indictment that includes three people arrested after a meth lab and an explosive device were found in a Nannie Hubbard Road home March 1, according to documents filed in London’s U.S. District Court.

The three arrested March 1 were Daniel J. Moeser, 44, Lisa Canada Ball, 49, and Jerry W. White, 35,  — all three face charges of conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, along with Bobby D. Canada II, 26, David Allen Davis (also known as David Wallace), 29, Danny L. Fyffe, 49, Robert J. Gibson, 23, Michelle Manning, 33, Wayne C. Marcus, 33, Billy R. Richardson, 34, Anthony L. Rose, 32, and Beverly Wilson, 28.

Moeser is also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of explosives and firearms. Ball is charged with being a drug user/addict while possessing explosives and firearms.

An affidavit by ATF Special Agent Todd Tremaine detailed the events of March 1 and the investigation that followed.

That day, Kentucky Division of Probation and Parole Officer Angie Ballou visited Moeser’s home. The visit came after Moeser, who was on probation after a felony conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm, tested positive twice for drugs — once for methamphetamine and a second time for oxycodone.

When Ballou, along with officers Trevor Teague and Scott Mayer, arrived at Moeser’s home on Nannie Hubbard Road, they reported smelling marijuana.

Moeser and Ball were in the home, as was White, whom Moeser said was a friend.

Ballou saw scales on a living room table. When she asked about them, Ball said she had smoked marijuana. Teague saw razor blades, a hollowed-out pen and a glass pipe near the couch — Moeser, Ball and White all denied knowledge of the items.

When the officers walked through the back of the home, they saw a digital scale, tubing, razors, plastic bags, and three small plastic bags containing white residue in a bathroom.

At that point, Williamsburg Police were called for assistance. Prior to more searching of the home, Moeser, Ball and White all said there was nothing in the home that could harm officers.

As Ballou and Mayer searched Moeser’s bedroom, they found what appeared to be an active meth lab in a closet. The home’s three occupants again denied having any knowledge of the lab.

After Ball asked Ballou if she could use the bathroom, Ballou followed Ball to the bathroom and asked her to empty her pockets. Ball removed apparent marijuana and a reading glasses case that contained several small plastic bags containing white powder. After Ball reportedly admitted the white powder was “dope,” she “begged Officer Ballou to let her flush the drugs before the police arrived.” Her request was denied.

As Ballou continued her search, she found a device with red and yellow wires in a boot. She asked Williamsburg Officer Brandon Prewitt to look at the device.

Prewitt contacted Bird, who said the home should immediately be evacuated.

Tremaine was called to the home and, after looking at the device, he determined it was “an ammonium nitrate-based commercial” explosive commonly called “Kinestick” or “Kinepack.” He also saw a live electronic detonator and two plastic containers of liquid taped to the binary explosive.

Because a complete view of the device wasn’t possible, Tremaine couldn’t determine whether the explosive device had a power source attached to it, so he exited the home and called the Kentucky Explosive Incident Response Task Force and waited for the Kentucky State Police Hazardous Devices Unit to respond.

The two arrested this week are likely not the last ones heading for jail in relation to this case, and federal charges are pending for both men, according to the chief.

“There are federal charges pending on both of them,” Bird said. “And it is very fair — very fair — to say there are several more arrests coming.”

The warning given by Bird is legitimate.

“If you’re cooking or ever have cooked meth, there’s a strong chance you’re on a list to be arrested,” Bird said. “We’ve learned about widespread criminal activity there in the Canadatown area — and several more arrests are coming.”

He said for cookers not to be surprised by a knock at the door.

“Again — if they’re cooking, there’s a strong, strong chance they’ll be seeing law enforcement very soon,” Bird added.

He said he and Officer Bobby Freeman were dispatched to assist at the scene Tuesday and Wednesday. Bird added that the Kentucky State Police sent special-trained units to the scene to clean up the meth lab on Gibson Lane.

“We were probably on the scene for more than four hours,” Bird said.

Note: Editor Becky Killian contributed to this report