Dozens of federal, state, and county law enforcement officers and private investigators swept into Morehead and Ashland last Tuesday and Wednesday with search warrants for five properties owned by Morehead auto dealer Marty W. Stevens.
In addition to the FBI, IRS, Kentucky State Police, Louisville Metro Police and Rowan County Sheriff’s Department, the sweep included agents of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
The NICB is a non-profit organization that partners with insurers and law enforcement agencies to fight insurance fraud and crime.
Several vehicles were confiscated at Lying Lee’s Used Car Sales on US 60 east of Morehead and at another car lot owned by Stevens in Ashland.
Some of those vehicles were impounded at the state highway garage on KY 32 north in Morehead.
Stevens, who was indicted last month by a Rowan County grand jury, is free on bond as he awaits a pre-trial hearing in September and a jury trial in December on charges of theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
Three arrests were made in Morehead and Ashland on various charges, some unrelated to the searches. In one case, a stolen weapon was recovered, police said.
In addition to the used car locations, search warrants were executed at Poppy Mountain, site of a Bluegrass music festival, an auto body repair shop and other facilities, and at the private residences of Marty Stevens and his son, Michael.
It was reported that business records and other property were seized.
KSP Trooper First Class Joe Veeneman declined to comment on the specifics of the searches.
Assisting were troopers from KSP posts in Morehead and Ashland.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Department had been providing leads to the KSP Vehicle Investigations unit for several months as the result of citizen complaints and other investigations.
Chief Deputy Joe Cline confirmed that six deputies participated in the search warrants and that “specific, important information” had been shared with the KSP specialists who investigate auto theft and related crimes.
Louisville police were involved because that city has a vehicle theft unit that works regularly with the NICB.
Material seized in the searches will be evaluated by the various agencies involved for possible presentation to federal or state grand juries.