PIKEVILLE – Two men were in jail Thursday, Sept. 30, after an Operation UNITE investigation uncovered a cocaine trafficking operation in Pike County.
Both men, neither of whom could produce documentation that they were in the United States legally, were taken into custody after a search of their Pikeville apartment.
Charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine) and trafficking in marijuana less than eight ounces were 36-year-old Jose A. Acahua and 35-year-old Marcello Salinas.
Upon being taken to the Pike County Detention Center officers discovered a Lortab pill concealed on Salinas and he was additionally charged with second-degree possession of a controlled substance.
UNITE detectives are continuing their investigation into the drug trafficking operation. Additional charges against Acahua and Salinas, as well as possible indictment of other individuals, is expected after the case has been presented to the Pike County Grand Jury.
Information about possible cocaine sales surfaced over the last few weeks, said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for UNITE. “We appreciate the assistance provided by the Pike County Sheriff’s Office in conducting this investigation.”
“We were able to identify several suspects and determined that a lot of illegal activity centered around an apartment located on Pike Street on the east side of town not far from Pikeville College,” Smoot said. “As a result of our investigation we were able to gather enough evidence for a search warrant.”
About 7 o’clock Thursday morning three UNITE detectives and four officers from the Pikeville Police Department went to the residence where they were able to arrest the men without incident.
Police discovered approximately 25 grams of powered cocaine, 20 baggies of marijuana packaged for individual sale in about one ounce quantities, and $1,000 in cash. The drugs have a combined street value of about $3,000, Smoot said.
Because of questions regarding the men’s citizenship, information about this case will be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
ICE, the largest investigative agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was formed in 2003 to protect national security, public safety and the integrity of the U.S. borders through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration.