On Thursday, June 24, 2021, a Casey County Circuit Court jury convicted Kevin J. Russell, age 41, of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance in the First Degree [two (2) grams or more of methamphetamine], Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, and of being a Persistent Felony Offender. The jury recommended that Russell serve twenty (20) years in prison.
According to testimony at trial, Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Begley and Casey County Deputy Sheriff Bryan Shepard went to Russell’s residence on Kentucky Highway 49 to serve arrest warrants on Russell in August 2019. While there, Trooper Begley noticed some empty baggies commonly associated with the sale and/or use of illegal drugs. Trooper Begley obtained permission to search the residence and found several items indicative of drug trafficking. Trooper Begley testified that he located over 145 grams of crystal methamphetamine, a large quantity of empty plastic baggies, a set of digital scales, marijuana, and $714 in cash. Russell admitted to the officers that all the items belonged to him.
Kentucky State Police Detective George Atwood also testified at the trial. Det. Atwood testified that he has worked in law enforcement for over 30 years and that he has worked in narcotics investigations for a large portion of his career. Det. Atwood testified that he believed the drugs in this case were possessed with the intent that they be sold, and he further testified regarding the street value of crystal methamphetamine. According to testimony, the methamphetamine seized from Russell had a potential street value of between $14,000 - $20,000.
After hearing the evidence in the case, the jury found Russell guilty of the crimes charged.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Wright, who prosecuted the case, informed the jury of Russell’s criminal history during the penalty phase of the trial, which included a 2010 conviction in Casey Circuit Court for Manufacturing Methamphetamine as well as several other offenses. The jury found Russell guilty of being a Persistent Felony Offender and recommended the maximum sentence of twenty (20) years in prison.
Wright commended Trooper Begley and the other officers for their efforts in removing such a large quantity of illegal drugs from Casey County. Wright added, “my office will continue to aggressively prosecute those persons who choose to profit from the production and/or sale of illegal drugs in this jurisdiction.”
Formal sentencing for Kevin Russell is scheduled for August 9, 2021, before Casey Circuit Judge Judy Vance Murphy.