Lynch police chief arrested on federal drug charges

The police chief of Lynch, in Harlan County, has been charged with distributing cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs and illegally selling a firearm, according to a federal indictment.

Jackie Stewart and his girlfriend Rettie Morris were arrested Friday in a joint investigation by Kentucky State Police and the FBI. The couple could face up to 60 years in prison and almost $3 million in fines.

The federal indictment, filed at the U.S District Court in London, accuses the pair of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, methamphetamine and the opiate replacement therapy drug Suboxone. In another count, they are accused of selling cocaine. A third count in the indictment claims that they sold a handgun and ammunition to a felon.

The state police told WYMT that the arrest came after a multiagency narcotics investigation in the Appalachian region was taken over by the FBI.

Benham and Cumberland police departments have been asked to assist in serving Lynch until a new chief can be appointed.

The mayor of Lynch told WYMT that a break-in at the police department occurred shortly before Stewart’s arrest, and evidence and about $1,500 was stolen. It is not known at this time whether the theft is connected to Stewart or his arrest.