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Eight Arrested in Multi-Agency Drug, Gun Crackdown
By Mike Cooper/Bill Hughes
PADUCAH - McCracken County Sheriff Matt Carter held a press conference Tuesday to announce the cooperation of multiple agencies in Kentucky and Illinois to arrest eight people and seize what he called large quantities of illegal drugs and firearms. 

On September 20, the newly formed Paducah Post of Duty office of the DEA, along with state and local authorities, arrested Joshua Fox, Zachary Lawson, Sheri Lester and Justin K. McClain at a Graves County home. They seized firearms, approximately 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine, and $7,730 in cash. The following day, DEA intercepted a parcel intended for Fox that contained an additional 2.2 pounds of methamphetamine that was to be delivered to a home in Tennessee.

A separate investigation regarding meth trafficking into western Kentucky, southern Illinois and southeast Missouri led to the identification of Shawn Tarver of Cairo as an alleged source. Search warrants were executed October 12, where police seized approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine, five pounds of marijuana, as well as heroin, firearm ammunition, and over $7,000, believed to proceeds from illegal drug sales. Shawn Tarver, a self-admitted Vice Lord gang member, was arrested.

Two days later, Roberto Alderete of Fresno, California, and Ulice Sanchez of Southgate, California, were arrested as they traveled into Paducah to sell methamphetamine and collect money from prior sales. A search of their vehicle revealed approximately 2 1/2 pounds of methamphetamine and a pistol Sanchez allegedly threw under a vehicle as police approached. 

DEA agents followed up at a Tennessee hotel where they seized over $20,000 that allegedly belonged to Alderete and was proceeds from illegal drug sales. The investigation revealed that he had distributed hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and marijuana in western Kentucky and southern Illinois since December 2017.

On October 5th, a McCracken County Grand Jury indicted Erik Cooper for trafficking in methamphetamine. He allegedly sold several ounces of methamphetamine in August. Cooper was arrested on October 15th.

Along with the eight arrests, police say they seized multiple firearms (some of which had been defaced), 17 pounds of methamphetamine, and over $50,000 in drug money. The street value of the methamphetamine is over $700,000.     

Carter, US Attorney Russell Coleman and other law enforcement officials stressed that this collaboration will continue to get drugs and guns off the streets.

Published 02:06 PM, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2018
Updated 11:22 AM, Tuesday Oct. 23, 2018

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