Suspects accused of operating drug trafficking ring in Portland - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Suspects accused of operating drug trafficking ring in Portland plead not guilty

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Susan Schultz Gibson had a courtroom full of suspects Monday after police say a major drug trafficking ring was busted in the Portland neighborhood.

One by one, 10 out of the 14 suspects appeared in court Monday afternoon.

They're all in custody, accused of playing a part in a drug trafficking ring, operating out of half a dozen homes on Bank Street in Louisville's Portland neighborhood.

"I'm really proud of LMPD,” said Angela, who lives nearby.

Angela says having the suspects in jail is a relief.

"Oh yeah. People know what they do. The streets talk,” she told WDRB.

She says their business has brought a sense of unlawfulness to her neighborhood.

"I see a lot of crime. I hear a lot of gun shots at night. It's heartbreaking to see this neighborhood go down because of all the drugs and heroin. I have to carry a gun with me if I go anywhere,” she said.

The following 14 suspects are all charged with criminal syndication plus several other charges including aggravated trafficking.

  • Anthony Kessinger
  • Antonio Wilson
  • Ernest Cockerell
  • Roberta Smothers
  • Terry M. Tidwell
  • Jenny Cockerell
  • Edward Lachalmelle
  • Steven Cockerell
  • Brittany Baird
  • Billy Williams
  • Robert Smothers
  • Eddie Maddox
  • Stephanie Cockerell
  • Steven Shinkle

LMPD's first division FLEX unit and the ATF began working the case in July 2014.

“This isn't your typical street corner operation,” said Prosecutor Andrew Beckman.

Beckman says the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office hopes this case makes a dent in the heroin trafficking that takes place in metro Louisville.

"The message to the community should be that no matter what your role is in selling narcotics, especially heroin, which is just ruining our community, that you will be indicted,” he said.

Police say most of the suspects are related.

They received a direct indictment last week.

Last month, officers searched one of the homes on Bank Street and found suspected meth and heroin along with scales, baggies, cash and a loaded handgun.

Their bonds range from $25,000 to $150,000.

Two of the defendants, Terry Tidwell and Eddie Maddox, have not yet been arrested.

Police say this is an ongoing investigation and more arrests are expected.

The suspects have a bond hearing set for Dec. 21 and a pre-trial hearing Jan. 27.

They all entered pleas of not guilty on Monday.

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