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Newcomb man arrested for the second time on drug charges

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Newcomb man arrested for the second time on drug charges

By Nancy Bright, TYPESETTER

 

Michael Uhlich has found himself on the wrong side of the law -again. But at least this time he has company. For several months the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department had been receiving complaints about drug activity on South Main Street in Jellico at a business formerly known as the Hilltop. “This has been a thorn in the side, since September” said Sheriff Gary Perkins. On Saturday just before 1 p.m. officers executed a search warrant at the location. However, serving the warrant also proved to have its challenges. Officers ordered individuals inside the metal building to come out, but got no response. They then attempted to enter the building but met with resistance. The walls of the structure were five layers thick consisting of items ranging from chain link fence to plywood, police said.  Officers attempted to saw through the walls but were unable to because of the material and number of layers, according to Detective Jimmy Jefferies. Officers were finally able to use an axe to cut through the walls, he said. Occupants of the building finally surrendered seconds after OC gas was deployed, said Perkins. Once inside the building officers found $5,200 in cash and a canister commonly used to transport and conceal narcotics inside the fireplace. They also found a detailed business system in place. The building was constructed so people could enter through two sets of wooden doors, which opened in the opposite directions. Once inside the building business hours were posted along with an offer for an early bird special, said Perkins. Individuals looking to purchase narcotics would then knock on the wall and use slang to receive their items through a small slot in the wall. During the Saturday’s search deputies poured fire retardant down the chimney in an effort to stop the fire in a wood burning stove but was unsuccessful, said Jefferies. Authorities believe the stove was in place to destroy drugs, should police arrive. This is not the first time the sheriff’s department has encountered Uhlich or his obscure structures. In April 2009 Ulrich was arrested at a wooden structure with a door that securely fastened from the inside with metal bars and surveillance system in Newcomb. This structure also had a slot in which to pass the narcotics through. A wood burning stove was found at this location also. Inside the building was Michael Uhlich, Amanda Uhlich, Rhonda Yancey, an infant and a toddler belonging to the Uhlichs, police said. The children were transported to Jellico Hospital for evaluation and the Department of Children’s Services was called to the scene. The children have since been placed in the custody of their grandmother. Arrested on Saturday were Michael Jeffrey Uhlich, 32, 527 Newcomb Loop Road, for aggravated child abuse and neglect, possession of schedule II controlled substance, destruction of evidence, felony possession of drug paraphernalia; Amanda R. Uhlich, 30, 527 Newcomb Loop Road, on charges she was manufacturing, sell and delivering a controlled substance, aggravated child abuse and neglect, felony possession of drug paraphernalia, destruction of evidence and her sister, Rhonda F. Yancey, 33, 235 South Mertle Avenue, Jellico, for manufacturing, selling and delivering controlled substances, felony possession of drug paraphernalia, destruction of evidence. The trio is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 8.