Busted headlight lands five Kentucky drug runners in jail

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A broken headlight led to the arrest Wednesday night of five drug runners from Kentucky during a county-wide traffic safety detail.According to Multi-Agency Criminal Enforcement detective Bill Staar, who deals with prescription fraud and abuse cases, there is an increasing number of Kentucky residents who drive to south Florida to get prescription narcotics — many from so called “pill mill” pain management clinics. On Wednesday night, Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Rick Daniel was working the safety detail on I-95 when he noticed a white Nissan SUV traveling north at mile marker 152 at about 9:30 p.m. He stopped the vehicle and upon further investigation came upon 975 prescription pills and 8.4 grams of marijuana. The five occupants in the SUV admitted to the officers that they had traveled to south Florida to obtain the drugs.Arrested were: Larry Gayheart, 34, of Hindman, Ky., for possession of oxycontin with intent to distribute, giving a false name while detained, and possession of alprazolam with intent to distribute. Jeremy Combs, 35, of Leburn, Ky., for possession of oxycontin with intent to distribute, possession of alprazolam with intent to distribute, and possession of paraphernalia. Combs also had a warrant out of St. Lucie County for attempting to obtain prescription by fraud.Luverina Tucker, 45, of Lexington, Ky., for possession of oxycontin with intent to distribute, tampering with evidence and, giving false name while detained. She also had a warrant for parole violation in Kentucky. Shelia Slone 44, of Hazard, Ky., charged with possession of oxycontin with intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia.

Kenneth Kunkel, 58, of Littcarr, Ky. with trafficking in oxycontin and possession of under 20 grams

of marijuana.

Kunkel was identified by Gayheart as the ringleader of the operation, paying for the others to travel to south Florida and paying them to obtain the prescription drugs. Gayheart told officers it was the fourth such trip he has taken and that he was to be paid $750 for seeing the doctor and in return Kunkel would receive a portion of his prescription pills.

The others told officers similar stories relating to obtaining the prescription drugs. All five remain in custody.

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