While the case originated locally, the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force was brought in to assist with the investigation and eventual prosecution of those involved – which led to federal charges against the suspects.
“We are very grateful to the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force for their assistance in this case,” Sheriff Waters said. “They were able to utilize their resources to help us get drug dealers off the streets of McCreary County for a long time.”
“Working together at the local, state and federal level, we were able to put a serious dent in the drug problem in McCreary County, and more is to come.”
The case began in July 2015 when Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officer Chris King observed a vehicle turn onto a Forest Service access road. Due to the large amount of illegal ginseng harvesting taking place at that time, the officer followed the vehicle to investigate.
When the two subjects in the vehicle spotted the officer, they reportedly turned and fled. Officer King began a pursuit, finally stopping the truck on Baptizing Hole Road.
A large quantity of methamphetamine, other paraphernalia, and handguns were seized.
The LCADTF investigation focused on the driver of the vehicle, Steven Green, of McCreary County. A few months later, using confidential informants, Green was arrested in Pulaski County after an attempted controlled buy of methamphetamine.
Through interviews with Green, the suspect admitted to officers he was regularly supplied methamphetamine to sell by Scotty Watson and Joyce Good (AKA Joyce Watson).
Working with the federal agents, members of the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police and U.S. Forest service assisted with the investigation, gathering information and providing local resources.
The investigation led to a raid at Watson and Good’s residence in December, where weapons, over $5,000 in cash and more than 11 ounces of methamphetamine were seized.
During their interviews with authorities the couple admitted to acquiring methamphetamine from a source in Georgia every couple weeks, and distributing to others locally for sale.
In January Watson, Good, Green, along with Steven Murphy, Garra Kidd, Jordyn Perry and Anthony Murphy were named in a 16-count federal indictment alleging they were involved in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Additional gun charges were levied against many of those named in the original indictment.
As the investigation and court proceedings continued, several additional names were added to the indictment, including Michael Birchfield, Jerry Gibson, John Slaten, Michael Daugherty, Paul Good, Jennifer Swain, Stacey Stout, Melvin Steele, and Carley D. Perry Jr.
Gregory Hutchinson and Aileen Strunk were not indicted as part of the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, but were included on the document for other charges.
Hutchinson was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Strunk was charged with making false statements to a federal agent.
In all, a total of 18 individuals were named on the indictment and all faced federal charges – most of them concerning the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine locally.
Green has pled guilty to the conspiracy and possession of handgun charges and was sentenced to 211 months in prison.
Joyce Good pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute meth charges and is serving 113 months, with an 8-year supervised release after completion of her sentence and agreed to forfeiture of property.
Steven Murphy accepted a plea deal on conspiracy to distribute charges and is serving 102 months.
Jerry Gibson’s plea for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of meth has him serving 60 months.
Carley D. Perry pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams of methamphetamine charges and was sentenced to 106 months.
Scotty Watson pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 95 months.
Garra Kidd pled to a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 102 months.
Jordyn Perry pled to charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of an unregistered destructive device and was sentenced to 96 months.
Anthony Murphy pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime charges and agreed to a 165-month federal jail term.
Michael Birchfield pled to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine over 500 grams charges and was sentenced to 148 months.
John Slaten pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine over 50 grams, with a 36 month sentence.
Jennifer Swain pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine charges with a 72-month sentence.
Stacey Stout also pled to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine charges and a 36-month sentence.
Michael Daugherty pled to a possession of firearms by unlawful drug user charge and was sentenced to 21 months.
Paul Good pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine with a 30 month sentence.
Gregory Hutchinson entered a guilty plea to a charge of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and will spend 92 months in federal prison.
Aileen Strunk pled guilty to a count of making a false statement to a federal agent and was sentenced to a three-year probation.
The only person indicted yet to face final judgment is Melvin Steele, who recently changed lawyers and is awaiting a trial date.