The drug trade in Laurel County took a hard hit last week with the indictment of 10 people, all charged with engaging in organized crime.
A Laurel grand jury returned two separate indictments, naming five people in each one and specifying their intent to possess, manufacture and/or distribute illegal substances.
One indictment names 47-year-old Juanita Elkins, also known as Juanita Pennington; 24-year-old Flora Westfelt, also known as Flora Scalf; 37-year-old Elvis Proffitt, and 31-year-old Roger Isom as defendants in the case. None of the four have addresses listed on the indictment. The fifth person named in the indictment is 52-year-old Lawrence Stevens of 2406 East Pittsburg Church Road in London.
All five are charged with engaging in organized crime and first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense on June 3. The indictment states that they possessed over 2 grams of methamphetamine with the intent for resale.
Stevens and Isom are additionally charged with tampering with physical evidence while Westfelt faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor for “engaging in illegal activity” while two minor children were presents.
Proffitt and Isom are also charged with first-degree persistent felony offender. Proffitt, according to the indictment, has three prior felony convictions, one in Pulaski County in 1996 for theft by deception, one in Laurel County and one in Knox County, both in 2011, for second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. In those cases, he received a 5 and a half-year sentence on each count, but the time ran concurrently, or at the same time.
Isom has two prior felony convictions for first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense in 2002 and second-degree robbery in 2008, both of which offenses were committed in Laurel County.
The five were arrested after Sheriff’s officials rolled up to Stevens’ residence on East Pittsburg Church Road and found Westfelt sitting in a vehicle with two children.
She was allegedly rolling a marijuana cigarette and had methamphetamine in her possession. Proffitt had an unnamed amount of methamphetamine, and Stevens possessed crystal meth and digital scales.
Isom fled the scene when deputies arrived but was taken into custody for having a quantity of crystal meth.
Elkins was arrested for having methamphetamine and marijuana in her possession.
Although unrelated, five other people charged with engaging in organized crime were arrested the next morning, on June 4, where Sheriff’s officials conducted a search on a residence on Murray Cemetery Road in northern Laurel County.
All five in that arrest — 37-year-old Michael Lantos, 40-year-old Stephen Simpson, 54-year-old Frankie Murray, and 33-year-old Kristopher Engle, also known as Kris Engle and Chris Engle, none of whom had addresses listed on the indictment; and 50-year-old Lisa Downs of 55 Murray Cemetery Road, seven miles north of London — were indicted for manufacturing methamphetamine, first offense, and engaging in organized crime after the remains of a one-step meth lab was found at the residence as well as a quantity of methamphetamine.
Lantos, Downs, and Murray are all charged with persistent felony offender, as all three have prior felony convictions.
Lantos’ priors include two convictions of driving on DUI-suspended license, third offense or over and first-degree fleeing or evading police. Downs has four prior felony convictions, three of which are drug-related and a fourth for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Murray is charged with second-degree persistent felony offender and has only one prior felony, which was for first-degree possession of a controlled substance.
The two-day drug roundup netted a total of 11 arrests of alleged drug dealers in the county stemming from undercover drug investigations by the Laurel Sheriff’s Office. Other law enforcement agencies assisting in the arrests were Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Landry Collett and his K-9 dog.