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Arrests in Laurel County, Lexington ends in $2.5 million drug bust

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Posted at 3:04 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 23:11:27-04

(LEX 18) — Authorities say five arrests in Kentucky have resulted in what's being considered the "biggest drug bust in Laurel County involving meth" as well as a $2 million drug bust in Lexington.

The drug bust stems from an arrest that happened earlier Monday in Laurel County. Three suspects, Justin Cooper, Christopher Brown, and Travis Jefferson, were arrested after an armed hostage situation at 49er Truck Stop off Exit 49.

Authorities tell LEX 18 they found 1.25 lbs of meth (about $10,000 worth), 23 grams of fentanyl, 79 grams of pressed fentanyl (about $4-5,000 worth), six grams of marijuana, three grams of cocaine, a small amount of heroin, and two firearms.

On Tuesday, authorities say they arrested two other suspects, Ariadna Lemus-Fuentes and Jose Alberto-Valles, on Cambridge Drive in Lexington. Officers found 43 pounds of meth, 4.7 pounds of cocaine, 19,000 dose units of pressed fentanyl, 30.9 grams of heroin, and three firearms. The Lexington bust was worth more than $2 million, officials say.

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For context, according to information from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Addiction Center, methamphetamine has a street value of about $2,500 to $3,500 per pound. As a collected average of all states, the most common street price for a gram of cocaine is around $120. The street price of heroin is anywhere from $5 to $500 per gram.

Lieutenant Chris Edwards with the Laurel County Sheriff's Office told LEX 18 that this is the biggest drug bust the county has ever had involving meth. Multiple agencies were involved in the arrests, including the Laurel County Sheriff, Laurel County DEA, the Lexington Police Department, and the FBI.

Jefferson and Cooper were arraigned Wednesday morning on the charge of a convicted felon in possession of a handgun. They both entered a not guilty plea and the judge set a preliminary hearing date on July 26 for both of them. We're told more charges are expected soon.

Brown will be arraigned on Friday. He is charged with fleeing or evading police, reckless driving, possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence, parole violation, and possession of a handgun by a felon.

Lemus-Fuentes and Alberto-Valles are being held in the Laurel County Detention Center.