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Laurel County Sheriff John Root is reporting K-9 Deputy Brian France, while patrolling on the Cumberland Gap Parkway, noticed a vehicle weaving on the road. Deputy France pulled the vehicle over and during the stop he smelled marijuana and noticed a syringe and a crushed can with residue. During the investigation K-9 “Maverick” alerted to the presence of narcotics around the vehicle. Deputy France, along with other deputies and London Police officers that responded during the roadside investigation, found a large amount of suspected heroin, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and Xanax bars. The driver, 46-year-old Leronda Marin-Bernal and passenger, 34-year-old Dustin R. Smith, both of Mayfield, were arrested and charge with drug trafficking and other offenses. Both were lodged in the Laurel County Correctional Center.
A Laurel County man man has been sentenced to two months in jail after being convicted of running a cockfighting pit, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. 55-year-old Rickie D. Johnson of Laurel County was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom on Tuesday. He was also sentenced to 8 months home incarceration following his jail time. The newspaper reports that 19 people total were charged in four separate federal indictments alleging they were involved with cockfighting pits in Clay, Laurel, Pike, and on the border of Nicholas and Fleming Counties. Johnson pleaded guilty to a charge that could have carried a prison sentence of up to five years, but the sentencing range under federal guidelines was between 21 and 27 months. More than a dozen of those accused have pleaded guilty but Johnson is the first to be sentenced.
Kentucky State Police Post 11 in London has a new post commander. Knott County native Captain James Ryan Catron is a 20 year veteran with the force. He joined KSP in 2002 as a member of Cadet Class 79. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2009 and served at Post 10 in Harlan. A few years later, he was promoted to Lieutenant and worked at Post 13 in Hazard. Catron was promoted to Captain and went back to Post 10 to serve as Commander. This year, he served on the Inspections and Evaluations Branch until his recent promotion at Post 11. Captain Catron said he is excited to join the London Post Area community and looks forward to this new challenge.