By Leeann Akers - Editor
Nov. 20, 2013 — A Carter County clergyman was arrested Friday for allegedly being one of the biggest pill traffickers in the state.
FADE Task Force detectives and officers with the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested Scott Gilliam, 42, of Olive Hill, at a construction site in Vanceburg.
Gilliam reportedly was the pastor of the Holiness Tabernacle Church off Perry Tabernacle Road, which has been closed for about a year.
Also arrested was Brandon Logan, 28, of Olive Hill.
Michael Scott Logan, also of Olive Hill, joined Brandon Logan and Gilliam in U. S. District Court in Ashland on Monday.
All three pleaded innocent to a Nov. 7 indictment on charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute.
FADE officers said both men arrested Friday were involved in a “large trafficking organization, which includes medical professionals, international ties, and human trafficking.”
U.S. Magistrate Edward B. Atkins scheduled a pre-trial conference in the case for Dec. 9 before District Judge David L. Bunning and trial for Jan. 22.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wade Napier said he anticipated the case would take three days to try.
All three defendants face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million if they are convicted, assuming they have no previous federal drug-trafficking offenses.
Atkins released the three on their own recognizance after Napier said the government wasn’t seeking detention in the case.
All three were represented at the arraignment by attorney Michael Campbell of Morehead.
However, Campbell said he will only be representing Brandon Logan in the case and was standing in for Michael Curtis and Michael Fox, who will be representing Michael Logan and Gilliam, respectively.
A grand jury indictment is a formal accusation of a crime and does not establish guilt.
FADE detectives said Friday that a large quantity of pills with a street value of about $68,000 had been recovered at the church, which Gilliam had apparently been using as a “stash house.”
During the course of the investigation, detectives have seized over $1 million in assets and currency.
“This is a multi-million-dollar pill operation,” a FADE spokesperson said. “If this isn't the biggest pill case in the state, it is one of the biggest.”
FADE worked with multiple federal agencies during the course of the 18-month investigation, including the U. S. Postal Service, Internal Revenue Service, DEA and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“This pastor has been a wolf in sheep's clothing the whole time,” FADE's spokesperson said. “He has been leading and counseling in this community while being the real life equivalent of Mr. White in ‘Breaking Bad.’ He has been a key factor in bringing in thousands of pills that are going out into our entire area.”
Detectives said after the arrests that the investigation spanned several states. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests in other jurisdictions are expected.
Leeann Akers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 474-5101.