By Greg Bird
Two McCreary men who were subjects of headlines in December were among the eight individuals indicted this month by the McCreary County Grand Jury.
Gene Paul Cooper (who was also arrested this week on unrelated charges) faces charges following the events of December 29th when he reportedly broke in to the Valero Gas Station in Whitley City to steal cigarettes.
According to the arrest citation at the time Deputies were alerted to an alarm call from the establishment indicating glass breakage at the building. Upon arrival officers found the side door smashed.
While Deputy Cody Stephens was reviewing security footage with store staff, Cooper approached Deputy Greg Chaney outside the store stating he had seen a white pickup with Tennessee tags pull up to the building around the time the alarm sounded.
Security footage showed a truck, matching the description, pull up to the side of the building, with a large appliance in the back. A male individual was observed entering the store and leaving a short time later with several cartons of cigarettes. The individual was wearing clothing matching what Cooper was wearing, so the officers went to the apartments across the road where Cooper lived to further question him.
Along the way the officers noticed a trail of broken glass leading to the parking lot, where the white truck was parked. Additional broken glass was found on the rear bumper of the vehicle.
When questioned Cooper said he did pull in to the station to put air in his tires, but denied involvement in the theft. He stated he had loaned the truck to a man he did not know for a short time. He added when the man returned he handed Cooper seven cartons of cigarettes and said “now we are even.”
Cooper was indicted on counts of Burglary Third Degree, Theft by Unlawful Taking of a Value of Less than $500 and Criminal Mischief First Degree for his alleged actions.
Charles A. Rose, of Pine Knot, who was arrested in December after a large quantity of marijuana and pills were found in his vehicle following a traffic stop.
At the time of his arrest Deputies observed Rose’s vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, prompting the stop.
The arrest report states that as the deputy approached the vehicle he could detect a strong smell of marijuana emanating from the car. The occupants stated the passenger had smoked marijuana prior to being picked up in Somerset.
The driver, Rose, was asked to perform a field sobriety test, which he failed according to the citation. Rose was placed in custody and a search of the vehicle was performed. Deputies Cody Stephens and Terry Baker conducted the search. Locating a bag of over 250 pills in the driver’s side door pocket and a large duffel bag of packaged marijuana and salvia in the trunk. Additionally, nearly $4,000 in cash was recovered from behind the seats of the vehicle.
Sheriff Waters stated approximately 10 pounds of marijuana and salvia were confiscated. The marijuana was sealed in shrink-wrapped bags, with some bearing manufacturing labels, as if they were obtained in a location where sale of the drug was legal. Some of the pills were identified as Hydrocodone, but the majority were unidentifiable and sent to a crime lab for testing.
Rose was charged with counts of Trafficking in Marijuana over 5 pounds and Trafficking in a Controlled Substance.
Elmer and Sandra Messer, both of Parkers Lake, were indicted on counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance First Degree, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a Controlled Substance First Degree for allegedly being found with approximately 54 grams of methamphetamine, items commonly used for the ingestion and/or distribution of illegal controlled substances and a quantity of Oxycodone on October 19.
Darren Strunk, of Whitley City, was named in two separate indictments this month.
The first charged him with two counts of Burglary Second Degree, Fleeing or Evading Police and Persistent Felony Offender status. The indictment contends Strunk unlawfully entered a residence on November 12, and then failed to stop a vehicle when ordered by McCreary County Sheriff’s Deputies in an attempt to elude the officers. Strunk had a prior felony conviction in 2010
The second indictment states Strunk allegedly knowingly and unlawfully received and possessed items stolen from an estate on December 28, prompting a charge of Receiving Stolen Property of the Value of $500 or more. He was also charged with being a Persistent Felony Offender.
Joey Watson, of Marshes Siding, was charged with Possession of a controlled Substance First Degree for reportedly being found with a quantity of Oxycodone on October 6.
Tammy Daugherty, of Parkers Lake, was indicted on a count of Bail Jumping First Degree for allegedly failing to appear in McCreary County Circuit Court on felony charges on May 30 of last year.
Dustin Watson, of Whitley City, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance First Degree, Second Offense, for reportedly being found to have a quantity of methamphetamine on his possession on October 4.
The Voice would like to remind our readers that an indictment is not an indication of one’s guilt or innocence, but represents that enough evidence exists in a case to pursue the matter in a court of law.