A Johnson County grand jury handed down 23 indictments Friday, among them an indictment against a Wittensville man in connection to a December arrest involving allegations of meth trafficking, fleeing or evading and possession of a firearm and possession of morphine. Many of the other indictments were also issued in connection to drug trafficking.

Justin D. Combs, 32, of Wittensville, was indicted on felony charges of first-offense first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (greater than or equal to two grams of methamphetamine), possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, second-offense first-degree possession of a controlled substance and two counts of first-degree fleeing or evading police (on foot and in motor vehicle), as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a minor, possession of drug paraphernalia and carrying a concealed weapon. The trafficking and handgun possession charges are both class C felonies with Combs’ other felony charges each being a class D felony.

Combs was also charged as a first-degree persistent felony offender due to six separate felony convictions between 2010 and 2015, and was charged with an enhancement for possession of a firearm at the time of commission of a drug-related offense. This enhancement would allow prosecutors, if deemed appropriate to upgrade all felonies with which Combs is currently charged by one class, meaning class C felonies would become class B felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000 and class D felonies could become class C. In addition to those possible enhancements, Combs’ misdemeanors could also be penalized as class D felonies. 

This indictment comes after a December arrest in which Kentucky State Police troopers serving a warrant for failure to appear on Combs said he fled from them and was found to be in possession of prohibited items and substances, including methamphetamine, which he was believed to be trafficking.

Court documents said troopers contacted Combs on Dec. 19 to serve him with a failure to appear in court warrant linked to an August case in which Combs was allegedly found to be driving under the influence and in possession of drug paraphernalia, among other alleged crimes, including the attempted theft of a truck from private property.

Combs was released on bail Sept. 6, court records show, but missed a court date on Sep. 11, leading to a bench warrant being issued for his arrest. 

On Sunday, Kentucky State Police troopers Ryan Hale and Joseph Weddington were dispatched to serve a warrant on Combs, who was said to live in Wittensville, according to the citation. Hale said that, upon arrival, the two troopers observed Combs in a vehicle that he was said to be in possession of, namely a primer gray 1985 Chevrolet pickup. The citation said that Combs backed out of the driveway in front of the troopers before “abruptly (accelerating) away from (the troopers).” 

The citation said the troopers then initiated a traffic stop, at which time Combs pulled over long enough to let out a man and a young child before speeding away again. After traveling approximately 100 yards, the citation said, Combs drove the truck over an embankment into a creek on Williams Branch Road and troopers observed Combs driving up the creek bed until the truck collided with a gate, rendering the vehicle inoperable after it traveled approximately 80 yards along the creek. 

Combs then exited the vehicle and fled on foot, according to the citation, and was pursued by trooper Hale, who wrote in the citation that he repeatedly shouted for Combs to stop fleeing. Combs did not comply, which led to Hale pursuing him for approximately 120 yards before closing the distance and using his Taser, according to the citation. Combs, Hale wrote, was taken to the ground and detained until Trooper Weddington could arrive to assist. 

The citation said that troopers searched Combs and found a small bag of a crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine, a hypodermic syringe, a glass pipe with residue, a loaded Ruger LCP .380 semi-automatic pistol and approximately $498. 

Hale wrote in the citation that Combs repeatedly apologized to the troopers, stating, “he had just smoked methamphetamine, knew he had warrants and only wanted to get rid of the gun.” According to the citation, Hale knew Combs as a convicted felon, having been convicted on felony charges in a case in 2015.

As the troopers escorted Combs back to their vehicles to be detained, Hale said in the citation, they noticed an additional bag of a crystal substance in plain view on the driver’s side floorboard and a further search of the area revealed a case with the plunger of a hypodermic needle sticking out of it. According to the citation, the case contained two syringes (one “loaded”), a bag of three pink round pills (marked “M” and “MS-30” and identified as Morphine in the citation) and three more bags of the crystal substance, totaling five bags discovered during the arrest, some of which the citation said had “50” written on them. According to the indictment, the amount of methamphetamine found totaled approximately 5.958 grams. 

Also indicted were: 

• Daniel Bell, 34, of Paintsville, was indicted, in three separate cases, on charges of third-degree burglary (in complicity with Kelly Keen, 39, of Paintsville) and receiving stolen property with a value of less than $10,000, both class D felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000, obscuring the identity of a machine or other property with a value of less than $10,000 and theft by unlawful taking with a value of more than $10,000 (both charged in complicity with Keen), both class C felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000. Bell was charged as a first-degree persistent felony offender in all three cases. 

Keen, also known as Kelly Keel, was indicted, in three separate cases, on charges of receiving stolen property with a value of less than $10,000 and third-degree burglary (in complicity with Bell), both class D felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000, as well as obscuring the identity of a machine or other property with a value of less than $10,000 and theft by unlawful taking with a value of more than $10,000, both class C felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.

• Daniel Tackett, 25, of Paintsville, was indicted on charges of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000 and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500.

• Cristin Cook, 35, of Paintsville, was indicted on a charge of first-degree and first-offense trafficking in a controlled substance (greater than or equal to two grams of methamphetamine). 

• Clesta Jackson, 34, of Nippa, was indicted on charges of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000 and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500.

• Herbert Blevins, 28, of Paintsville, was indicted on charges of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000, possession of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500 and public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of no more than $250.

• Lorrie A. Burchett, 48, of Hagerhill, was indicted on charges of first-degree and first-offense trafficking in a controlled substance (less than two grams of methamphetamine) with complicity, a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000, possession of drug paraphernalia with complicity and possession of a radio that sends or receives police messages with complicity, both class A misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500. Burchett was charged as a first-degree persistent felony offender.

• William A. Collier, 53, of Sitka, was indicted on charges of first-degree and first-offense trafficking in a controlled substance (less than two grams of methamphetamine) with complicity, a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000, possession of drug paraphernalia with complicity and possession of a radio that sends or receives police messages with complicity, both class A misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500. Burchett was charged as a first-degree persistent felony offender.

Collier and Burchett were charged in complicity with one another.

• Steven A. Barnett, 49, of Red Bush, was indicted on charges of fourth-offense DUI, a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000, operating on a suspended or revoked license and possession of marijuana, both class B misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of no more than $250, two counts of third-degree possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500 and traffic charges.

• Brian Blair, 38, of Hagerhill, was indicted on charges of first-degree and first-offense trafficking in a controlled substance (greater than or equal to two grams of methamphetamine), a class C felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000, possession of drug paraphernalia, first-offense DUI and trafficking in marijuana, all class A misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500, operating on a suspended or revoked license, first-offense failure to maintain required insurance and carrying a concealed weapon, all class B misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of no more than $250 and traffic charges.

• Robert Smith, 39, of West Van Lear, was indicted on a charge of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, a class C felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.

• Jerry Lee Ramey, 41, of Martha, was indicted on charges of first-degree assault, a class B felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000 and second-degree cruelty to animals, a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500. Ramey was charged as a first-degree persistent felony offender.

• William Hensley, 75, of Staffordsville, was indicted on charges of first-degree wanton endangerment, a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000 and discharging a firearm across a roadway, a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500.

• Tatarekoda Baxter, 47, of Nicholasville, was indicted on a charge of second-degree escape, a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.

• Danny Castle, 44, of Williamsport, was indicted on three counts of first-degree and first-offense trafficking in a controlled substance (one for cocaine, one for hydrocodone and one for oxycodone) with a firearm enhancement, the cocaine charge is a class B felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000 and the hydrocodone and oxycodone charges are both class C felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000. Castle was also indicted on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and trafficking in marijuana (less than eight ounces), both class A misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500 and traffic charges.

• Odell Dixon, 46, of Flat Gap, was indicted on charges of first-degree and first-offense trafficking in a controlled substance (greater than or equal to two grams of methamphetamine), a class C felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana, both class A misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500, operating on a suspended or revoked license and first-offense failure to maintain required insurance, both class B misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of no more than $250 and traffic charges.

• Roy Greene, 41, of Flat Gap, was indicted on charges of third-degree burglary and first-degree wanton endangerment, both class D felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.

The grand jury returned no true bills on Kendra Blair, Donnie Greathouse, Danny Castle and Miranda Newsome.

Editor’s note: An indictment is not an assertion of guilt; it is a finding by a grand jury that further investigation into a case is required to make a decision. All those listed as having been indicted are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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