This morning, police reports began surfacing of a coordinated drug bust at a home along Kentucky 229 in southeast Laurel County. Both the Kentucky State Police and the FBI cooperated in the Saturday enforcement action. Information is still forthcoming about who police arrested and their charges, but authorities in Laurel County have arrested one 16-year-old in connection with the raid. Now, that teenager is behind bars in a juvenile detention facility in Breathitt County, facing multiple drug and firearm offenses.
As part of an ongoing investigation into narcotics trafficking along a major state highway in Kentucky, local, state and federal law enforcement groups raided a home in Laurel County on Saturday. The investigation turned up a cache of weapons and more than 60 pounds of cannabis products. According to the FBI, agents seized 11 pounds of hash oil, 16 pounds of flower that appears to have originated in California, 30 pounds of weed gummies and approximately 350 vape pens with pre-filled cartridges.
A 16-year-old boy was caught up in the raid. According to police, the teen allegedly trafficked more than five pounds of assorted cannabis products. Additionally, the boy is facing charges for possessing drug paraphernalia and for three counts of possession of a handgun by a minor. Kentucky police say the teen was planning to sell and distribute the cannabis to local high schools and middle schools.
Kentucky is one of the few remaining states without any legalized form of cannabis. The state also does not have any decriminalization measures in place, meaning the consequences for cannabis offenses can add up quickly. Possessing, selling or trafficking five pounds, let alone 60 pounds of cannabis, is enough for a felony offense with a five to 10 year prison sentence. In fact, the only cannabis misdemeanor charge is for a first-time offender possessing, selling or trafficking less than eight ounces. Subsequent offenses or anything over five pounds is an immediate felony charge for selling and trafficking.
Gun laws, on the other hand, are extremely loose in Kentucky. The state does not require a permit for possessing a firearm. And folks in Kentucky can carry shotguns and rifles without a license. Carrying a concealed handgun is the only class of gun ownership that requires a license. However, Kentucky law stipulates that penalties for crimes should be “enhanced” if a firearm is present, whether the person has a permit or not.
It’s unlikely Kentuckians who measure the risk of possessing even small amounts of cannabis know they could face a felony charge if they have a gun. Even if they have a concealed carry permit and lawfully possesses the firearm, they could still face a felony just for possessing a gram (or less) of cannabis.
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