HAZARD – A Perry County Jury needed only a few minutes of deliberation to find a Bonnyman woman guilty of trafficking in OxyContin.
With the verdict Tuesday in Perry Circuit Court, 69-year-old Della Hurt becomes the last of four family members to be convicted on drug charges resulting from an Operation UNITE undercover investigation.
Hurt’s three sons – Michael Hurt, Robin Hurt and Timothy Bruce Hurt – have all pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and are now serving their sentences.
“We had received numerous complaints about the high volume of traffic going to and from their homes on Wagon Wheel Drive,” said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for UNITE. “Because of the public’s help, it took only two months to obtain enough evidence to make the arrests.”
In this week’s trial before Circuit Judge William Engle, defense attorneys tried to argue that the evidence presented by Commonwealth Attorney Teresa Reed did not conclusively show that a drug transaction had taken place in early February. The jury decided otherwise.
After the conviction on first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance was announced, Reed and Hurt’s attorneys agreed to recommend a five-year sentence.
Hurt was remanded to the Kentucky River Regional Jail pending Judge Engle’s final sentencing.
Indictment warrants were served on Hurt and her three sons on March 19, 2009. Della Hurt, Michael Hurt and Robin Hurt were charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance while Timothy Bruce Hurt was charged with trafficking in marijuana (second offense) and being a persistent felony offender.
At the time of their arrests the Hurts were living in what Perry County Solid Waste officials said were such unsanitary conditions that neighbors were forced to live in filth and fear.
Solid Waste Coordinator Rosa Couch told WYMT news that the home did not have garbage pick-up for more than two years and that the Hurts made no effort to clean up the mess – even after numerous citations were issued. Local law requires every citizen in Perry County to maintain garbage service.
Community service workers needed three dump trucks to get rid of 600 bags of trash from the property.
Della Hurt and Bruce Hurt were each charged with criminal littering and pleaded guilty to these charges in June. They are believed to be the first people to spend time in jail for a trash dump.