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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Western District of Kentucky

For Immediate Release

October 13, 2011

David J. Hale, United States Attorney

Contact: Stephanie Collins
(502) 582-5911

Two Year Investigation Nets 33 Charged in Paducah

Federal, State and Local Collaboration Credited with Successful Drug Sweep

PADUCAH, KY – An early morning drug sweep of the Paducah, Kentucky community by multiple law enforcement agencies has resulted in more arrests in an on-going investigation into drug trafficking, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky; Paul J. Vido, Special Agent in Charge of the Louisville Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and James Berry, Chief of the Paducah Police Department.

These arrests are the culmination of a nearly two year-long cooperative investigation by the Louisville Field Division of ATF, the Paducah Police Department, the Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations, and the United States Secret Service.

This multi-agency investigation, known as Operation New Day, targeted street-level, mid-level and upper-level drug dealers and resulted in 15 federal indictments and one state court indictment. Thus far, a total of 33 defendants have been charged in the McCracken County, Kentucky area on drug and firearms charges – 29 in federal court and 4 in state court. During the course of this investigation, investigators executed approximately 14 search warrants and conducted numerous undercover operations. As a result of these operations, law enforcement recovered approximately 45 pounds of marijuana, 113 ounces of crack cocaine and 188 grams of powder cocaine. Additionally, 20 firearms and 311 rounds of ammunition were recovered during search warrants and undercover operations.

Today’s arrests are simply the most recent actions taken as part of a broad, comprehensive strategy of cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement, stated U.S. Attorney Hale. The success of this collaborative investigation is strong evidence of the commitment and dedication of our law enforcement partners to disrupt and pursue drug trafficking and to keep our communities safe.

On October 11, 2011, the Paducah federal Grand Jury returned four indictments charging 13 defendants from Paducah with possession and distribution of cocaine and additional related offenses. Those indictments are in the process of being unsealed.

In the event of a conviction, and depending on drug quantity and criminal history, the maximum potential penalty could be life in prison without parole. Some of the charges carry a minimum mandatory sentence of at least five years in prison and some carry a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 10 years in prison. Additional defendants have been charged in state court with trafficking in a controlled substance in the 1st degree (cocaine) and possession of a controlled substance in the 1st degree.

The cases are primarily being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Larry Fentress and David Sparks and Special Assistant United States Attorney Seth Hancock.