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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Western District of Kentucky

For Immediate Release

August 22, 2012

David J. Hale, United States Attorney

Contact: Stephanie Collins

U.S. Attorney Announces Arrests and Successful Prosecutions of Violent Crime Offenders in Hopkinsville, Kentucky

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. – David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, today announced the results of the successful, ongoing investigation and prosecution of persistent drug and violent crime offenders in the Hopkinsville, Ky., community. This summer, federal agents, working with the Hopkinsville Police Department, arrested more than a dozen alleged drug dealers operating out of Christian County, adding to the 45 federal defendants charged since 2009. These arrests have removed crack cocaine, marijuana and illegally held firearms from the Hopkinsville community. All of those arrested face federal prosecution.

"This is another tremendous example of what can be accomplished with collaboration between federal and local law enforcement," stated U.S. Attorney David J. Hale. "Our partnership with the Hopkinsville Police Department is getting results – this concerted effort is removing violent drug dealers from this community and prosecuting them to the fullest extent in federal court."

Present at today's announcement were U.S. Attorney Hale; Acting Special Agent in Charge, Peter A. Pappas, Louisville Field Division Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Hopkinsville Police Chief Guy Howie; Christian County, Kentucky Sheriff Livy Leavell, Jr.; and Hopkinsville Mayor Dan Kemp.

Since the fall of 2010, this coordinated law enforcement effort has resulted in guilty pleas by all but three defendants who are currently scheduled for trial. Six defendants, who pled guilty, have been sentenced in U.S. District Court with sentences ranging from 57 months to 120 months in prison. Some 38 arrests removed 67 illegally held firearms, 550 kilograms of marijuana, at least 30 kilograms of cocaine, 23 kilograms of crack cocaine and 5 kilograms of heroin from the Hopkinsville Community. Crack cocaine has an estimated street value of $100 per gram.

"The large number of defendants listed here are evidence of the extended battle ATF and the Hopkinsville Police Department have waged against the armed drug traffickers in this town. We appreciate the Chief's and the public's patience with this endeavor and believe the results have shown it to be worth the wait," stated Acting Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Peter A. Pappas Louisville Field Division.

Hopkinsville Police Chief Guy Howie stated: "Safe neighborhoods are about partnerships. The partnerships between the US Attorney's Office, ATF, Commonwealth Attorney, County Attorney and Christian County Sheriff's Department have made Hopkinsville a safer place because of this investigation. It is now incumbent upon the citizens of Hopkinsville to assist in keeping violent crime and drug traffickers out of our community. This partnership stands ready to continue its efforts. To those individuals who wish to continue on a road involving guns, drugs and violent crime, you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible."

The latest round of federal prosecutions follow from an earlier successful collaboration between federal law enforcement and the Hopkinsville Police Department. Beginning in June 2009, federal law enforcement dismantled the largest known crack cocaine distribution ring operating in the Christian County community to date. That operation generated significant sentences for 20 defendants: two life sentences, two sentences of 240 months, with all but one of the 20 defendants currently serving sentences of 60 months or more. When that conspiracy was shutdown, federal agents seized more than 100 kilograms of crack cocaine that had an estimated street value of $10,000,000 and 6 illegally held firearms.