Harlan County man pleads guilty in federal court

A Harlan County man was recently found guilty in federal court for first-degree trafficking controlled substance.

Dylan Brewer, 23, pleaded guilty Monday to possession with the intent to distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew H. Trimble.

According to the plea agreement, law enforcement stopped Brewer’s vehicle in Bell County on July 13 and found two kilograms of methamphetamine and a loaded firearm hidden in a speaker box in the back seat.

During the investigation, law enforcement learned that Brewer had been obtaining methamphetamine in Georgia and traveling to Harlan County to distribute it.

“Reducing the availability of dangerous drugs and protecting the public are two of our most important priorities,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “Prosecuting armed methamphetamine traffickers, like the defendant, satisfies both. This prosecution, and others like it, reinforce a simple message: dealing meth with a gun will likely result in a long stay in a federal prison.”

U.S. Attorney Duncan; Dan Dodds, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Louisville Field Division; Richard Sanders, Commissioner of Kentucky State Police; Kyle Dunn, Pineville Police Chief; Mitch Williams, Bell County Sheriff; and Mike Smith, Knox County Sheriff, jointly announced the guilty plea.

Brewer’s sentencing hearing has not yet been set. He faces a minimum of 15 years in prison, with a maximum of life, and a maximum fine of $20 million. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court after its consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes.

On July 25, Brewer was arrested and placed into the Harlan County Detention Center for four counts non-payment of fines, public intoxication of controlled substance, first-degree possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Brewer was given a bond and released on those charges on Aug. 1.

Brewer’s case also led to the indictment of another individual charged with drug trafficking by the Appalachia Narcotics Investigations team. The press release for that arrest is below.

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On Sept. 26, Charles Hubbard, 57, of Pineville, was sentenced to 96 months in federal prison. This conviction comes after a year-long investigation by detectives from Appalachia Narcotics Investigations (ANI) where he was caught on three separate occasions in Harlan and Bell counties with a total of 225 grams of crystal methamphetamine.

In January 2018, Hubbard was arrested by Kentucky State Police trooper Brandon Burton for being in possession of 2 ounces of methamphetamine. In June 2018, KSP trooper Jake Spurlock arrested Hubbard for being in possession of 5 ounces of methamphetamine. Both of these arrests stemmed from traffic safety checkpoints in Harlan County.

Burton and Spurlock contacted detectives with ANI, who had been receiving complaints about Hubbard.

It was learned that Hubbard was traveling to Tennessee and was being supplied with large amounts of methamphetamine, coming back to his residence in Bell County and then distributing the majority of the drug in Harlan County.

Hubbard is believed to have been supplying methamphetamine to the Watts Creek, Dayhoit, Wallins, Bledsoe and Loyall communities of Harlan.

Hubbard was also in possession of a stolen motorcycle from Virginia. Deputies from the Bell County Sheriff’s Office recovered the motorcycle and returned it to its owner.

In August 2018, a traffic stop on Hubbard by Bell County Sheriff’s Office K9 and KSP trooper Jason Young was made in Bell County.

Another ounce of crystal methamphetamine was found in his possession. Hubbard was approached by ANI detectives where he admitted to bringing between 12 and 14 ounces of methamphetamine per month to Harlan between January and July 2018.

Federal authorities adopted the case due to the amount of controlled substance Hubbard had been in possession of and the crime crossing state lines.

Hubbard is a convicted felon and a move-in registered sex offender from Ohio.

This case is the result of a combined effort of all participating agencies of ANI, including the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, Bell County Sheriff’s Office, Pineville Police Department and KSP.

ANI also expressed great appreciation to the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Kentucky.