TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

April 2, 2013

14 arrested in drug roundup

Operation April Foolish hits various ‘hot spots’ in Whitley


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John L. Ross, Staff Writer

It may have been April Fool’s Day, but it was no joke for 14 suspects arrested during the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department’s latest drug roundup Monday.

“Operation April Foolish,” as the roundup was dubbed, netted a dozen arrests before noon — two more were arrested through the afternoon.

As the heavy early morning fog dissipated, the Sheriff’s Department, along with constables Lonnie Foley and Andy Moses and Kentucky State Trooper Dave Lassiter, split up and headed for various “hot spots” throughout Whitley County.

A list of 20 suspects in hand, law enforcement began banging on suspects’ doors, hoping to catch them unaware and unprepared.

And on Monday morning, they did.

One suspect was even found with several firearms in plain view in the home, including a sawed-off shotgun. All but one of the 10 weapons seized were loaded, according to Deputy Kirk Mays.

“We confiscated illegal drugs and illegal weapons,” Sheriff Colan Harrell said. “It was a good morning for the good guys.”

Harrell said the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been contacted concerning these weapons, and more charges are expected for that suspect.

He added that it was simply “incidental” that officers “observed the weapons in plain view.”

Harrell said an extensive, long-term investigation brought on this latest wave of drug-trafficking arrests, adding that some of these “we’ve had six to eight months.”

One of those arrested, Dewey Wilson, 59, of Amos Falls Road, made comments before he was taken to Whitley County Detention Center. “I got framed,” said Wilson after his arrest. “I was (preoccupied) when they told me they had an arrest warrant for me.”

All those arrested were processed at the sheriff’s department in Williamsburg, then transported to the detention center.

All funds used in making “buys” are provided by Operation UNITE, according to Harrell. “They finance it,” he said. According to its website, operationunite.org, Operation UNITE “is a recognized drug task force operating under (an Interlocal Cooperation Act.)”

Harrell said Monday’s roundup was pretty smooth. “I feel the roundup was very successful and displayed a cooperative action within departments,” Harrell said, vowing “Whitley County can expect more to follow.”

Those arrested and their charges include:

— Johnny Loyd Blakely, 49, of Williamsburg, was arrested on drug warrants Monday. When deputies entered the residence to arrest Blakely, there they allegedly found the 10 weapons. During processing, Blakely said one of the guns confiscated “was my daughter’s.” So far Blakely faces two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense, third-degree possession of a controlled substance, and two counts of a prescriptions of controlled substances not in their proper containers, first offense. He remains jailed — no bond has yet been set. Further charges, including federal, may be pending.

— Edna Jean Canada, 28, of Williamsburg, faces two separate charges of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. She was arrested without incident at her residence around 9 a.m. Monday. She remains jailed under two separate cash bonds of $7,500 each.

— Jimmy Ray Canada, 35, of Williamsburg, faces one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was arrested at the same residence at Edna Canada, also without incident. Jimmy Canada was jailed, then released on a $5,000 surety bond, and is required to wear an ankle bracelet.

— Ricky Lee Claxton, 38, of Williamsburg, faces one charge of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was arrested by Detective Tim Baker Monday afternoon. He remains jailed at the detention center under a $15,000 cash bond.

— Gary Wayne Croley, 47, of Williamsburg, faces one charge of his first offense of trafficking in marijuana, less than 8 ounces. Croley was one of five brought in with a two-car team. Croley remains jailed at the detention center. No bond had been set as of press time.

— Ernest James Durham, 69, of Williamsburg, faces two charges of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was arrested without incident. At press time, no bond had yet been set.

— Jeff Lee Lawson, 49, of Rockholds, faces one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was brought to the sheriff’s department by Deputy Todd Shelley without incident. He was jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center, but by press time had already bonded out.

— Norman D. Peace, 65, of Williamsburg, faces one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was arrested by Baker late Monday afternoon. He remains jailed at the detention center. As of press time, no bond had yet been set.

— Hairm Smith, 57, of Corbin, faces one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was processed and sent to the detention center, where he remains. No bond had yet been set as of press time.

— Freddie Taylor, 38, of Williamsburg, faces one charge of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense, and one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was one brought in a group of five arrested by a two-car team Monday. Taylor remains jailed at the detention center under a $10,000 cash bond.

— Ricky A. Taylor, 53, of Williamsburg, faces one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He remains jailed at the Whitley County Detention Center under a $10,000 cash bond.

— Gregory Waddell, 45, of Rockholds, faces one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was brought in with another suspect by constables Foley and Moses. He remains jailed at the detention center. As of press time, no bond had yet been set.

— Heather Lee Ward, 26, faces one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. She was brought with Waddell to the sheriff’s office without incident by Foley and Moses. She was jailed in the detention center, but as of press time no bond had yet been set.

— Dewey Elmer Wilson, 59, of Williamsburg, faces one charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He was arrested without incident Monday at his home. He remains jailed at the detention center, but as of press time no bond had yet been set.

All those arrested remain innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.