By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Handcuffs in Whitley County received a workout Thursday morning during the latest Whitley County Sheriff’s Department drug roundup.
Sheriff Colan Harrell said nearly all suspects sought Thursday face charges accusing them of dealing controlled substances. All suspects arrested remain innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Harrell explained the arrests culminated from extensive investigation.
“Some of these we’ve had for six — maybe eight months,” he said.
He added evidence against those wanted in the roundup include audio and visual recordings.
“We also work with informants,” Harrell said. “When there’s no more for (the informant) to buy — we close them (the suspected dealer) up.”
“It’s that simple.”
Those arrested and their charges are:
— Kenneth D. Barnhill, 46, of Williamsburg, theft by unlawful taking. According to Harrell, Barnhill reportedly took cash to trade for drugs, but never returned with the requested narcotic.
— Michael Justin Leach, 25, of Williamsburg, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. Leach is under a $5,000 cash bond.
— Judith Ann Meadors, 52, of Canadatown, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. Meadors was on the roundup list but an arrest was not necessary — Meadors has been jailed in Whitley County Detention Center since Sept. 19 on a probation violation. Harrell said her newest charges were filed Thursday.
— Melissa Karen Newberry, 34, of Williamsburg, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. Newberry said at the sheriff’s office she was told her bond would likely be a $5,000 cash bond.
— Diedra Dalene Partin, 52, of Williamsburg, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. She was arrested early afternoon Thursday.
— Johnny R. Satterfield, 34, of Williamsburg, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. Once in the sheriff’s office, he repeatedly denied having sold anything.
—Danny Wayne Whitehead, 52, of Williamsburg, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense. He and his wife were both arrested Thursday.
— Phillis Whitehead, 50, of Williamsburg, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense.
All arrested were jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center. While processing paperwork, three of the arrested, Newberry, Satterfield and Leach asked each other if they knew “who got them.” Newberry also asked the deputies, who explained they would find all that information from their attorneys. Suspects will also see the evidence against them.
When asked why do they “deal drugs,” Satterfield offered an answer, noting that he “didn’t sell anything” himself. “I’m disabled and don’t’ have enough money,” Satterfield said. “For most of us we do it to survive.”
Whitley County Detective Sgt. Tim Baker, who leads the effort to combat illegal drugs in the county, said this effort will continue.
“Our goal is to ultimately protect the citizens of Whitley County,” Baker said. “Drugs destroy lives in a slow, agonizing way — the WCSD wants to break that cycle.”
Sheriff Harrell agreed, vowing more arrests will come.
“I promise you there will be plenty more,” he said.
Seven nabbed for drugs; one for theft in Whitley
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