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Task force arrests 9 on drug charges


By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

The newly formed Gateway Area Drug Task Force broke up a large suspected drug operation and made nine arrests Tuesday, according to the task force commander, Jimmy Daniels.

The group was reportedly trafficking in large quantities of crystal methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana from a residence at Parkview Place Mobile Home Park, where authorities served a search warrant Tuesday, Daniels said.

Authorities had reportedly made several controlled buys from the residence. Several of those present were arrested.

They include Tyler Crawford, 24, Marcus “Nuke” Jones, 37, David Saylor, 48, Teresa Saylor, 43, Edward Hunt, 47, Megan Perry, 26 and Joann Lawson, 63, all of Mt. Sterling. Also arrested at the residence was Lilly Belcher, 24, of Pikeville.

They face multiple charges of trafficking in a controlled substance, first-degree, involving meth, heroin and fentanyl, trafficking in marijuana and engaging in organized crime.

Jones reportedly has a lengthy criminal history involving drugs and Perry had reportedly been tied previously to a drug syndicate operating out of Cincinnati-Dayton, Daniels said.

The alleged “source of supply” for the drugs was Deangelo Darnell Smith, aka “Bop,” 34, of Detroit, Mich., Daniels said. He was intercepted while driving along Interstate 64 toward Mt. Sterling Tuesday, Daniels said.

Smith was allegedly operating in Fayette, Montgomery and surrounding counties from a residence in Lexington that was also searched Tuesday, he said.

Daniels said Smith allegedly trafficked in pounds of crystal meth and maintained a pill press for preparing fentanyl pills.
Smith allegedly has a lengthy criminal history as well.

Daniels said it’s frustrating for investigators to repeatedly find themselves going after suspects like Jones, Perry and Smith, who reportedly have previous criminal histories.
“We’re dealing with the same people over and over and over again with this,” he said.

He said the task force, which includes officers from the Kentucky State Police, Mt. Sterling Police Dept., Stanton Police Dept. and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, plans to present its case to an upcoming grand jury and anticipates that it will lead to indictments against other individuals and additional charges for those already arrested.

Daniels said he will also be meeting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to see about charging some of the individuals federally.

The task force had been investigating Smith’s alleged drug operation since shortly after it formed Jan. 1, he said.

Daniels claims the drugs the group allegedly trafficked has ruined entire families and left numerous local people subject to potential overdose.
“It has been damaging to the entire community,” he said.

The Gateway Area Drug Task Force, which is housed on the third floor of the Mt. Sterling Police Dept., was created after Mt. Sterling and Montgomery were designated as part of the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr made the announcement last fall. The designation opens up member communities to additional federal resources to combat drugs.

Daniels encourages the public to report any illegal drug activity to the task force. It can be reached by calling the MSPD at 498-8899. The task force has an anonymous tip line.

Though not a member of the task force, Daniels said the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has also assisted.