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Post 5 arrests 11 during ‘Operation Black Friday’

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KSP initiated “Operation Black Friday” on Friday, Nov. 1 by using every available sworn unit within the agency to arrest 479 individuals in what is the largest one-day drug round-up in agency history. All KSP Posts, the KSP Drug Enforcement Special Investigations (DESI) Branch, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, along with assistance from local law enforcement, ATF, DEA and U.S. Marshal’s Service began arresting individuals before daybreak.

Locally, through KSP Post 5, there were 11 arrests in Carroll, Trimble, Henry and Gallatin counties.

KSP reports that 479 targets were arrested resulting in 774 charges.  KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer said the operation is a direct result of law abiding citizens providing tips via phone calls, messages, letters and information to the anonymous tip lines.  He referenced to an anonymous letter, a plea for help, from a mother whose son became a drug addict.  She provided pertinent information that led to the arrest of the drug dealer selling to her son.

“Today, I can say to all of you who have made this same plea – we hear you.  We have not forgotten about you and more importantly, we are locating these individuals and making these much needed arrests,” Brewer said.

Brewer indicated that many of the arrests are what KSP terms as “low-level” offenders.  These are usually people who buy drugs and generally cause disruption within the communities where they live.

“Citizens are tired of perpetual offenders who are disrupting neighborhoods and participating in other criminal mischief,” Brewer said.  “While many of the arrests today are low level targets, it is very probablable that we will obtain information from them that will lead to arrests of more significant dealers and drug operations.”

In a news release Friday, Post 5 announced the arrests of these area residents as part of Operation Black Friday:

• Miranda Sanders, 33, Warsaw, charged with sell/transfer of a simulated controlled substance.

• Joshua Northcutt, 29, Warsaw, charged with sell/transfer of a simulated controlled substance.

• Saramento Lopez, 37, Glencoe, charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, sell/transfer of a simulated controlled substance.

• Samantha Smith, 27, Warsaw, charged with trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Tara Johnson, 38, Warsaw, charged with trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.

• Michael Kemp, 23, Eminence, charged with trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Benjermin Riley, 35, Campbellsburg, charged with trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Kevin Funk, 36, Bedford, charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Misty Funk, 31, Carrollton, charged with trafficking in a controlled substance.

Zacharias Powell, 21, Carrollton, charged with the sell/transfer of a simulated controlled substance

Chad Wingham, 24, Bedford, charged with three counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

Two other individuals with warrants from Trimble and Gallatin counties were arrested outside the Post 5 area.  Samantha Jones, 26, of Madison, Ind., was arrested on a charge of trafficking in a controlled substance out of Trimble County. She was located and arrested in Madison. 

Christina Balsiger, 22, of Verona, was arrested on a charge of trafficking in a controlled substance warrant out of Gallatin County.  Balsiger was served with her warrant at the Simpson County, Ky., jail.

In the KSP news release, Brewer stated that most of the charges during ‘Operation Black Friday’ were drug-related including prescription drugs, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine.

“While legislation regarding pharmaceuticals (prescription drugs) has had a positive impact in Kentucky, heroin is now an increasing problem across the state,” Brewer said. “Our arrest data (from DESI Branch) is showing a 200 percent increase in heroin-related arrests since 2012.”

Brewer encouraged citizens to be vigilant in reporting drug activity and suspicious behavior in their local communities.

“We provide multiple avenues for people to anonymously report information, including a toll free tip-line 1-(800) DOPE TIP and the ‘Text-A-Tip’* program,” says Brewer.  “We have received 842 tips through the tip-line and 302 tips from the ‘Text-A-Tip’ program. This is a great example of successful community policing, where law enforcement partners with local citizens to remove criminals from their communities.”