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Three month long investigation yields arrest, more pending

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By Natasha LaFayette

natasha@lafollettepress.com  

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant for suspected drug activity in the Elk Valley area last Thursday.

Michael Jeffrey Uhlich, 32, of Newcomb was arrested for possession of multiple scheduled narcotics during the search, which resulted from a three month long investigation.

Campbell County Detectives learned of drug related activity from a wooden shack at the corner of Highway 297 and Aaron Bair Road, according to Campbell County Sheriff Gary Perkins.

Around 9:45 a.m., several detectives adorned themselves in camouflage and hid near the isolated shack, said Perkins.

They waited for three hours until Uhlich exited the building to chat with customers, said Perkins. The detectives waited due to the shacks defense system against possible raids, said Detective Josh Goins.

The wooden structure had a door, which securely fastened from the inside with metal bars. The alleged drug transactions were made through a hidden drawer, in which the buyer put in the money and the supplier returned the drug of choice, said Detective Brandon Elkins.

The structure had a surveillance system installed so the person inside could see who was outside making the requests, said Ekins.

A wood-burning stove heated the small structure and could also be used to discard the drugs if deputies arrived.

That is why the detectives waited outside until the right moment, said Goins.

While they waited, considerable traffic came and went from the structure, they said. When deputies moved in around five people were outside the shack.

Uhlich was charged with three counts of possession of schedule II, possession of schedule III and IV for resale and violation of probation.

While Uhlich was the only one arrested at the scene for possession, Perkins said more arrests could follow as the investigation continues.

During the investigation, deputies witnessed as many as 25 to 30 cars visit the wooden shack in one day, said Goins. It is also believed that more structures like this could be located in the areas, said Elkins.

Goins commented that most of the traffic was from Kentucky. During the arrest last Thursday the vehicles parked on the property were all from the nearby state, he said.

Uhlich is still being held at the county jail with a bond of $10,000.