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Salyersville Independent

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Grand jury releases indictments

SALYERSVILLE – A Magoffin County grand jury released the following two indictments on February 3, 2022, with warrants issued for both defendants:

Sanford Lethco, 38, of Sevierville, Tennessee, is charged with receiving stolen property $10,000 or more (Class C felony); driving on a DUI suspended license, first offense (Class B misdemeanor); failure of non-owner operator to maintain required insurance (Class B misdemeanor); and possession of drug paraphernalia (Class A misdemeanor). According to the indictment, on or about December 6, 2021, Lethco allegedly received, retained or disposed of movable property of another, with the value of the property more than $10,000, drove on a DUI suspended license, and possessed drug paraphernalia in Magoffin County.

According to the original citation, Lethco was reportedly the driver of a Class A motor home that had been reported stolen from Knoxville, Tennessee. Magoffin County Sheriff Department officers found the motor home stuck in a ditch on Jim Arnett Branch, off of Burning Fork, while on patrol.

Lethco told police at the time of the arrest that he recently had bought the motor home for $20,000, but was unable to provide a current registration card or insurance.

Police found two empty needles in Lethco’s jacket pocket while placing him under arrest. He was taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, where he remains at press time.

He repeatedly told law enforcement he bought the motor home, giving police the name of the person he reportedly bought it from.

The vehicle was towed from the ditch and Knoxville Police Department was advised police had removed the motor home.

Also indicted on February 3, Ronald Puckett, 26, of Bish Patrick Lane, in Salyersville, is charged with the following: six counts of first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer (Class D felonies); two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment (Class D felonies); first-degree fleeing and evading police, motor vehicle (Class D felony); receiving stolen property over $1,000 but under $10,000 (Class D felony); tampering with physical evidence (Class D felony); resisting arrest (Class A misdemeanor); menacing (Class B misdemeanor); and second-degree persistent felony offender (penalty enhancement). According to the indictment, on or about December 26, Puckett allegedly engaged in conduct that created substantial danger of death or serious injury to six police officers and two other people, disobeyed directions from police officers to stop, running from police in a motor vehicle, and retained stolen property valued at $1,200. He reportedly tampered with physical evidence in attempt to elude court proceedings, resisted arrest, and intentionally placed another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury. At the time of his arrest, Puckett previously had been convicted of a felony in Elliott County.

Puckett was arrested on December 26 and has been held at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center since that time.

Editor’s Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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