Police served Pearl Combs, of Hazard, with an arrest warrant on High Street Tuesday afternoon, charging him with vote buying for allegedly handing out $20 bills for votes in Tuesday’s primary election. Also charged was Hazard resident Timothy Thacker for allegedly selling his vote.
An anonymous tip led to the arrests and the serving of a search warrant at a property authorities say Combs owns on High Street, said Deputy Chief Joe Engle with the Hazard Police Department.
“Somebody in the public said they knew that vote buying was going on here on High Street,” said Engle.
Engle said police in Hazard followed up on the tip earlier on Tuesday and spoke with subjects at the location and informed them that vote buying is illegal.
“We told them that if anything like that is going on it needs to cease,” he said.
That’s when police began observing the area, Engle continued, and witnessed several people exiting the building, one of whom was stopped and told police he had sold his vote.
“He advised us that he had sold his vote for $20, and it was marked down on a sample ballot for which [candidates] he should vote for,” Engle explained.
Engle said an investigation is currently ongoing, and he expects help from the attorney general’s office in the process as well. As of Tuesday evening, police had seized several items believed to be evidence in the case, along with four poker machines and several thousands dollars in cash Engle said are probably used in a gambling operating at the High Street location. The machines were seized on a separate warrant.
Engle added that he believes additional arrests could be possible as the investigation continues.
“We’re hoping that some more arrests turn out of this,” he said. “We’ll still be investigating with some other (law enforcement) agencies involved.”
Combs and Thacker were lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard.