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Hostage situation at 49er Truck Stop led to record $2.5 million drug bust


Multiple people have been arrested after an undercover operation led to an armed hostage situation at a truck stop in Kentucky, which in turn led investigators to millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs.

The incident began around 7 a.m. on Monday, July 18, at the 49er Truck Stop off I-75 in London, Kentucky.

The Laurel County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) had reportedly been investigating three suspects for some time and on Monday morning there was an attempted undercover drug buy that turned into an armed hostage situation, involving a suspect with a gun holding two people inside of a car, according to WKYT.

During the incident, approximately a dozen workers and customers sheltered in a back room at the truck stop for safety.

Police were eventually able to arrest Justin Cooper, Travis Jefferson, and Christopher Brown, all of Lexington, Kentucky, on various warrants and firearm charges.

No one was injured, but two police cruisers were damaged after they were reportedly rammed by a suspect.

Following the incident at the 49er Truck Stop, police seized “approximately 1.25 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, several hundred Fentanyl pills, small amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana during a delivery to Laurel County.”

After the arrests on Monday, the LCSO partnered with the DEA, FBI, and the Lexington Police Department to continue the investigation and locate the source of the drugs.

From the LCSO:

On Tuesday July 19, the Lexington Police Department assisted by the DEA, FBI, and Laurel County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at a residence on Cambridge Drive in Lexington. As a result of this search warrant, approximately 43 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 4.7 pounds of cocaine, approximately 19,000 dosage units of fentanyl pills, 30.9 grams of heroin and three firearms were seized. Arrested at this location were Ariadna Lemus-Fuentes of Lexington and Jose Alberto Valles-Espinoza, a Mexican native were charged with Federal drug trafficking charges and also lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.

LCSO said that the estimated street value of the recovered drugs is more than $2.5 million.

LCSO Sheriff John Root called it a “record setting narcotics seizure.”

“The outstanding inter-agency cooperation was vital in the successful conclusion of these seizures and arrests” Root said.


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