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February 3, 2014

Seven arrested in roundup

Knox residents now face various drug charges

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Seven Knox County residents ended up in the Knox County Detention Center Friday — all of whom now face various drug trafficking charges.

It all began about midmorning.

Several deputies with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office gathered near the detention center Friday — all ready for a day of arrests.

The first order of business for the sheriff’s office, according to Sheriff John Pickard, was executing a search warrant.

That warrant was for a residence on Hubbard Branch Road in the Scalf community.

In tandem, the four patrol vehicles wound their way along KY 223, aiming for Hubbard Branch.

Once they arrived, deputies swarmed the house. After a few voiced requests to open the door, Chief Deputy Derek Eubanks raised his foot — and with a couple of good kicks, he broke through the door.

Deputies spent nearly an hour at the scene, searching through two different outbuildings and the house itself.

Finally, deputies brought out their first arrests for the day — Harold Mills Jr., 61, and Glenna Sue Mills, 48.

The couple now faces one charge each of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense. They both remain jailed in the Knox County Detention Center under a $20,000 cash bond each.

From there, deputies headed toward KY 718, winding their way down to a Roaring Fork Road residence.

While at that residence, a man came out from the home, drinking an energy drink.

Eventually deputies spoke with him – then subsequently took a cell phone picture of him.

Moments later, the man was emptying his pockets for a pat-down — and eventually ended up with a place in the back of a patrol car.

That man was 23-year-old John C. Bingham, of Walker. He was jailed in the Knox County Detention Center, where he remains jailed under a $5,000 cash bond. He faces one charge of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense.

From that point, deputies continued on toward Moore Creek Road, and ended up at two different residences on a rough gravel road named Blackberry Drive.

The two mobile homes were approximately 400-500 yards from each other. The first home deputies went to was cleared — albeit briefly.

A check of the second residence brought out 66-year-old Charles R. Smith, of Fourmile. He was arrested and faces charges of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, and trafficking in marijuana less than eight ounces, first offense. He was jailed in the Knox County Detention Center and remains there under a $5,000 cash bond.

Deputies then returned to the first residence they had cleared on Blackberry Lane. According to Eubanks, the woman they sought at that residence allegedly had an unusual way of exchanging cash for drugs.

He explained there was a “stovepipe” that had metal door flaps on each end. The money would be placed in this stovepipe, and then the drugs would reportedly be put in the money’s place.

The alleged buyer and dealer would never actually see each other face to face.

While inspecting this device, deputies heard what they first assumed was dogs — Eubanks said the resident kept a number of dogs inside the home.

But a second odd noise sent Eubanks looking into one of the windows of the residence — and suddenly he saw a woman’s face looking back into his own.

Suddenly, loud commands were shouted, demanding she open the door.

“Open this door or we’re gonna kick it in,” one deputy shouted.

Just before the door opened, a sound similar to a Taser gun was heard multiple times, followed by a yelping cry from one of the dogs.

When the door was finally opened, 43-year-old Angela Marie Jordan, of Fourmile, stepped out. She was carrying a small dog, which she told deputies was in heat and had to be placed in a recreational vehicle parked in the driveway.

She was then led down her driveway, to join the other suspects seated in various patrol cars.

Deputies left that part of Knox County, and headed for the Artemus and Trosper area.

After driving the parade of patrol cars along KY 930 and then KY 225, deputies converged at a home on Gravy Branch Road.

Deputies aimed for the front door of the residence, when suddenly one shouted “he’s running, he’s running.”

A small, white GMC pickup truck was going down the road the patrol cars arrived on — and all deputies at the scene headed for him.

The man then drove back to the scene and stopped the truck, both hands in the air over the steering wheel.

Eubanks brought the suspect out of the vehicle, and began a search of his person. He then arrested 35-year-old Brian Hamilton, of Trosper, and led him to join the others in one of the patrol cars.

Deputies combing the edge of the road uncovered something they allege Hamilton tossed from the truck window while driving — two small zip-up baggies, one containing little blue pills, the other containing more blue pills and some white pills. Deputies searching his wallet also reportedly found cash and a wrapper for a Suboxone strip.

A woman and a small child were at the residence, watching the entire scene unfold.

Eubanks added that the sheriff’s office planned to seize the truck, and had it towed from the property.

Hamilton was jailed in the Knox County Detention Center, where he remains under a $20,000 cash bond.

Hamilton faces charges of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense, two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second or greater offense, and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second or greater offense.

The last suspect arrested Friday was Clarence Daniel Valentine, 70, of Heidrick. Deputies converged on that house after jailing the first six suspects.

Once Valentine was arrested, he was booked into the Knox County Detention Center, where he remains jailed under a $25,000 cash bond.

He faces charges of two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense, and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

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

“This drug roundup — we’ve worked on this for quite a while,” Pickard said Friday afternoon, adding the bulk of the drug charges involve “dealing pills.”

“(We) made controlled buys on each one of them,” the sheriff said.

He also added the stovepipe was “unusual.”

“That’s the first time (I’ve seen that),” he said. “It’s pretty neat — it worked.”

He also discussed a new trend in illegal drug consumption.

“They’re melting down the Suboxone strips and shooting them up,” he said. “It is going on — that (now) happens.”

Does this make a dent in the Knox County illegal drug epidemic?

“It helps a lot,” he said. “Every time you get one it’s that much less (on the streets).”

Illegal drug activity remains a target for the Knox Sheriff’s Office.

“We will get them — it’s a matter of time,” Pickard vowed. “We’ll get them as we can.”

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