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Task force makes multiple arrests in Fentanyl trafficking case in Simpson County

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Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 9:54 AM CDT
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SIMPSON COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) - Agents with the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force arrested multiple individuals Monday that were involved with bringing Fentanyl into Simpson County.

Agents saw an increase in overdoses related to fentanyl in the past year and identified a purple substance that was found to be fentanyl was the cause.

Agents said they contacted other agencies in reference to the purple fentanyl and found the source was most likely coming out of Tennessee.

Police identified one of the dealers of fentanyl as Shelby Simmons, 37, of Franklin.

Law enforcement said in a release that Simmons was selling the purple fentanyl as well as methamphetamine.

Agents identified several other individuals that were involved in trafficking and importing fentanyl into Simpson County including Jonathan Vaughn, 32, of Franklin; Halbert Warden, 51, of Franklin; Gary Denning, 67, of Franklin; Pamela Sanabria, 63, of Westmoreland, Tennessee and Lloyd Fields, 36, of Russellville.

Officials said Wednesday that they made contact with the individuals trying to initiate a traffic stop on U.S. 31 South.

Police said that the chase ended in a vehicle collision but would not comment on any injuries or anything further on the incident.

Law enforcement officials said these individuals were in contact with each other and were responsible for bringing the fentanyl into Kentucky.

Simmons was charged with engaging in organized crime, persistent felony offender, three counts of trafficking in a controlled substance (Fentanyl), three counts of trafficking a controlled substance within a 1,000 feet of a school, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (less than two grams of methamphetamine), two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (equal to or greater than two grams of methamphetamine), first-degree wanton endangerment, importing fentanyl, third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Warden was charged with engaging in organized crime, persistent felony offender, trafficking in a controlled substance (Fentanyl), first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (equal to or greater than two grams of methamphetamine), first-degree wanton endangerment, trafficking a controlled substance within a 1,000 feet of a school, improper turning, disregarding traffic control device, careless driving, first-degree wanton endangerment (Police Officer) and first-degree fleeing or evading police (motor vehicle).

Denning was charged with engaging in organized crime, two counts of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, (Fentanyl), drug paraphernalia, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (equal to or greater than two grams of methamphetamine), trafficking in a controlled substance (Fentanyl) and importing Fentanyl.

Vaughn was charged with engaging in organized crime, persistent felony offender, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (equal to or greater than two grams of methamphetamine), no insurance on vehicle, disregarding stop sign, reckless driving, trafficking in marijuana, less than 8 ounces, possession of a controlled substance (Fentanyl), drug paraphernalia, first-degree fleeing or evading police (Motor vehicle), first-degree fleeing or evading police (on foot), driving on a DUI suspended license, wanton endangerment and no registration plates.

Sanabria was charged with engaging in organized crime, failure to wear seat belts, first-degree possession of a controlled substance (Fentanyl) and drug paraphernalia.

Fields was charged with engaging in organized crime.

Agents said they were able to identify the subjects were traveling to different parts of Tennessee and purchasing different amounts of Fentanyl and then bringing it back to Kentucky to sell.

Agents conducted this investigation over several months and seized enough fentanyl to kill an estimated 8,000 people.

Assisting agencies included Appalachia HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas), Franklin Police Department, Simpson County Sheriff’s Office and DEA Nashville.

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