301 arrested in state-wide drug round-up named 'Operation Black Friday'

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by Claudia Coffey

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 20 at 5:20 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Roughly 300 people accused of drug crimes and criminal activity were arrested by Kentucky State troopers in what's being called "Operation Black Friday".

The special investigation spans the entire state and so far.  479 suspects were sought Friday in the operation, which could result in 774 charges.  So far, police arrested 300 people, resulting in 526 total charges.

Photos: Mugshots of Operation Black Friday suspects:  Computer users  |  Mobile users

This is considered the largest drug round up in agency history.  Many of the arrests are what KSP terms as "low-level" offenders.  These are usually people buying drugs and generally cause disruption within the communities where they live. But they are causing big problems.

"As we know these low to mid level drug dealers can parlay into much bigger cases for us on down the road," says Commissioner Rodney Brewer.

Most of the charges during 'Operation Black Friday' were drug-related including prescription drugs, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine. Heroin being the fastest growing. Arrest data shows a 200 percent increase in heroin-related arrests since 2012.

"We've done such a good job on pill mill clinics and shutting those down. But that has driven up the demand for heroin," said Brewer.

The Kentucky State police has been planning this operation for months. One of the reasons it was so successful was because of the large number of tips that came from the community.

Commissioner Brewer says he even received  an anonymous letter, a plea for help, from a mother whose son became a drug addict.  She provided pertinent information that led to the arrest of the drug dealer selling to her son.

"People are really upset with folks on the street corner. Folks that are dealing to their kids at the schools and the local drive ins," Brewer said.

There are many avenues for people to anonymously report information, including a toll free tip-line 1-(800) Dope tip and the 'text-a-tip'* program. They have received 842 tips through the tip-line and 302 tips from the 'text-a-tip' program.

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List of arrests, so far, according to police:

Miranda Sanders, 33 years old from Warsaw, KY: Sell/Transfer of a Simulated Controlled Substance
Joshua Northcutt, 29 years old from Warsaw, KY: Sell/Transfer of a Simulated Controlled Substance
Saramento Lopez, 37 years old from Glencoe, KY: Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, Sell/Transfer of a Simulated Controlled Substance
Samantha Smith, 27 years old from Warsaw, KY: Trafficking in a Controlled Substance
Tara Johnson, 38 years old from Warsaw, KY: Trafficking in a Controlled Substance within 1,000 Yards of a School
Michael Kemp, 23 years old from Eminence, KY: Trafficking in a Controlled Substance
Benjermin Riley, 35 years old from Campbellsburg, KY: Trafficking in a Controlled Substance
Kevin Funk, 36 years old from Bedford, KY: Two counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance
Misty Funk, 31 years old from Carrollton, KY: Trafficking in a Controlled Substance
Zacharias Powell, 21 years old from Carrollton, KY: Sell/Transfer of a Simulated Controlled Substance
Chad Wingham, 24 years old from Bedford, KY: Three counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance
 
Two other individuals with warrants from Trimble County and Gallatin County were arrested outside the Post 5 area.  Samantha Jones, 26 years old from Madison, IN, was arrested on a Trafficking in a Controlled Substance out of Trimble County.  She was located and arrested in Madison, IN.  Christina Balsiger, 22 years old from Verona, KY, was arrested on a Trafficking in a Controlled Substance warrant out of Gallatin County.  Balsiger was served with her warrant at the Simpson County, KY jail.

Post 15 reports the following arrests were made on Friday, November 1st in the Post 15 area as a result:
Taylor County (lodged in Taylor County Jail):
24-year-old Brittany Rednour of Campbellsville was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Degree, 1st Offense (<4 Grams Cocaine) & Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.
 
33-year-old Nathaniel L. Cubit of Campbellsville, was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 2nd Offense.
 
34-year-old Travis D. Owens of Bowling Green was arrested and charged with 3 counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Degree, 1st Offense and Persistent Felony Offender 1st Degree.
58-year-old Earl M. Owens of Campbellsville was arrested and charged with 3 counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 1st Offense and 2 counts of Persistent Felony Offender 1st Degree.
 
Marion County (lodged in Marion County Jail):
28-year-old Brandon Terrell Smith of Lebanon was arrested and charged with 3 counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 1st Offense.
 
30-year-old Jeremy Oliver Nailing of Lebanon was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree & Persistent Felony Offender.
 
21-year-old Christopher Gary Taylor of Lebanon was arrested and charged with Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 1st Offense.
 
21-year-old Christopher Lee Wiser of Lebanon was arrested and charged with Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 1st Offense.
 
48-year-old William F. Porter Jr. of Lebanon was arrested and charged with Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 1st Offense.
 
Russell County (lodged in Russell County Jail):
46-year-old Mary J. Brown of Russell Springs was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree, 1st Offense.
 
55-year-old Debra K. Rodriguez of Russell Springs was arrested and charged with 3 counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree, 1st Offense.
 
61-year-old Margaret M. Robertson of Russell Springs was arrested and charged with Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 1st Offense and Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree, 1st Offense.

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