Trafficking arrests made

Published 11:34 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

A multi-agency investigation into alleged drug trafficking in Pineville and Middlesboro resulted in several arrests earlier this week.

According to a release from the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, Jimmie Beth Smith (Messer), 58, of Harrogate, Tennessee, was arrested April 3 by officials with Appalachia Narcotics Investigations.

The arrest came after a year’s long investigation, stated the BCSO.

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Officials said that it is believed Smith (Messer) and her husband, Frank “Boss” Lake, 68, have allegedly been obtaining prescription medication in Tennessee, bringing those drugs into Kentucky and then selling the pills.

“Appalachia Narcotics Investigations also believes that Lake and Messer used the proceeds from the illegal drug trade to purchase two businesses in Pineville, the first a food catering business and then the popular Flocoe sandwich shop in downtown Pineville,” the release stated.

Messer was arrested at the Flocoe and charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. Also arrested at the Flocoe was Stefanie Holland, 35, of Arjay. Holland was charged with one count of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. Jeremy G. Messer, 36, of Arjay, later turned himself in on one count of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. Officials with the BCSO said Lake is facing federal charges.

Search warrants executed at several locations in Kentucky and Tennessee have yielded large amounts of guns, drugs and money used in the alleged illegal trafficking of narcotics, officials stated.

Smith (Messer) and Holland both posted $5,000 cash bonds the afternoon of April 3 and were released from custody. As of Thursday afternoon, Jeremy Messer was still being held on a $5,000 cash bond at the Bell County Detention Center while Frank Lake is being held without bond.

Messer was arraigned April 4. Smith (Messer) and Holland will have their first court appearance April 17 at 9 a.m. in Bell County District Court. Lake had an initial appearance April 3 and has a preliminary hearing in U.S. District Court in London on Friday, according to a report on WRIL.

Appalachia Narcotics Investigations was assisted at the scene by Pineville Police Chief Bill Matthews and Assistant Chief Kyle Dunn, as well as Bell County Deputy Patrick Brooks and Kentucky State Police Trooper Keith Baker. Appalachia Narcotics Investigations is a multi-agency drug investigative unit comprised of detectives from the Kentucky State Police, Pineville Police Department, Harlan County Sheriff’s Office and the Bell County Sheriff’s Office.