BONNYMAN—Less than two weeks after the Perry County Sheriff’s Office rehired the 13 employees it was forced to lay off in July, the office made one of its most significant busts this year.
Nancy M. Neace, 56, of Hazard, was arrested Tuesday afternoon on multiple charges related to trafficking controlled substances out of her motor home which sat on Typo Road across from the former Coal Bowling Lanes.
“We’ve had several complaints on this area and this motor home and this residence in particular,” Deputy Jerry Burns said. “We’ve had complaints that there would be 20-25 vehicles between 10 o’clock and 5 o’clock in the evening.”
Burns said he, along with four other deputies, began conducting surveillance on the motor home all morning on Tuesday.
“Several vehicles were in and out within just a couple of minutes to this RV, all of them ran the stop sign up here, which gave us the right to do a traffic stop,” Burns said.
When the subjects who were stopped were asked why they had been at the motor home, Burns said all of them admitted they had bought pills from the residence and told officers how much they paid, what they paid for, and where officers could find the pills in the residence.
“Upon getting those statements and lodging a couple of those subjects in jail for other violations and stuff they had, we made contact with the female,” he said.
Burns said officers saw four mature marijuana plants growing 6 feet from the front door of the motor home before they even knocked.
“She advised that nobody had been to her residence even though we had been surveillancing (sic) the residence since 9 this morning and saw several vehicles, we also knew the cash amount that the subjects had gave her,” Burns said. “She advised she didn’t have any cash, she advised she didn’t have anything illegal in the mobile (motor) home. She advised we could search anywhere we wanted, search for anything we wanted to.”
Upon searching the motor home, Burns said deputies found several items of drug paraphernalia including mirrors with pill residue, crushed up pills, and several pill bottles inside matching the pills found on the subjects leaving the residence earlier that day.
“Outside of the camper by the steps was a cooler that had a big bag of prescription medication, there was probably 9, 10, 11 bottles that were not prescribed to her,” Burns said, adding that marijuana was also found inside the residence. “We’re looking at a lot of different bottles and some of them narcotics, like the Lortabs, and we had a statement from somebody saying she’s actually selling her heart medication as well.”
Burns explained deputies had been watching the residence for nearly three hours before searching it, and knew Neace had made around $135 in cash based on statements from those stopped after visiting the home. Neace, though, was adamant that she had no money and had not been selling any pills.
“We had let her sit down (in the motor home while it was being searched) where it was a little bit chilly outside. We had searched the area before we sat her down. When we got her up the money was folded up beside the chair where she was sitting, underneath a pad,” he said.
A notebook was also found in the residence, in which was listed every transaction made by Neace, Burns said.
“It was opened where she had just been writing in it, that had everybody’s name that we had pulled over here today and had what they had bought and how much it was,” Burns said. “She had a log of what kind of medications she’d sold today.”
Another subject who was living with Neace may face charges in the case, however, he was out of town during the time of the bust, Burns said.
“We actually saw him leave this morning,” he said. “We’ve got 100 percent proof that she (Neace) was involved in this today, so, hopefully she can help us out on the other subject.”
Deputies found 21 pill bottles in the motor home and cooler outside, and also took the motor home into custody as evidence; they will be obtaining a search warrant for Neace’s phone records, Burns said.
According to the arrest citation, Neace has been charged with one count trafficking a controlled substance, one count tampering with physical evidence, one count cultivating in marijuana under five plants, and one count possession of marijuana.
“We’ve got several complaints on this place and we’ve been kind of shorthanded, and we’re just now getting back full force. We have the manpower to get out here and actually try to locate some of this,” Burns said. “If anybody has anything else they can call the sheriff’s office and we’ll definitely come check it out. We’d like to get all the drugs off the street that we can.”