HARRODSBURG — Three Mercer County residents face an array of criminal charges after allegedly trying to traffic marijuana through theU.S. mailsystem, according to the sheriff.
Mercer County Sheriff Ernie Kelty, Chief Deputy Sheriff Scott Elder, additional Mercer deputies andU.S. Postal Service officials recently have been investigating suspicious packages shipped to addresses in Salvisa and Harrodsburg, and made an important break in their case on Thursday. Elder’s K9 unit, Damon, detected the odor of marijuana on packages being sent to 1050 Old Louisville Road in Salvisa, Kelty said.
At 11 a.m., four Mercer deputies and postal investigators went to the home and arrested Laura E. Wiley, 46, and Gary D. Wiley, 47. Authorities seized more than 5 pounds of processed marijuana, a firearm and a motor vehicle.
About 3:50 p.m. Thursday, four Mercer deputies along with postal investigators executed a related search warrant at 782 Oakland Lane in Harrodsburg, Kelty said. They arrested Ricky A. Merriman, 55. Authorities seized a large quantity of processed marijuana, a large quantity of prescription hydrocodone painkillers, $6,000 in cash and a motor vehicle.
As of today, all three suspects are being held without bond in Boyle County Detention Center.
The Wileys each are charged with one felony count of trafficking more than 5 pounds of marijuana, first offense. A conviction could net each of them five to 10 years imprisonment. Laura Wiley also is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which carries a potential sentence of one to five years.
Merriman is charged with felony trafficking more than 8 ounces of marijuana, felony second-degree trafficking a controlled substance and operating under a suspended or revoked driver’s license. He faces one to five years imprisonment on the marijuana charge and one to three years incarceration on the controlled substance trafficking charge.
Kelty praised the work of all local and federal officials involved in the investigation, especially Elder and his K9 unit Damon.
“I think these folks really believed that the marijuana would make it past our police dog,” the sheriff said. “Marijuana and prescription drug abuse are huge problems not only here in Mercer County, but also most other communities in the country. I want to reiterate that Mercer County has an absolutely zero tolerance policy toward the abuse and sales of drugs.”