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August 12, 2011

Drug trafficker sentenced

Custom van forfeited

Aug. 12, 2011 —     A disabled Morehead man was sentenced Tuesday by Chief Circuit Judge Beth Maze to 11 years in prison for drug trafficking.

    Lance Carter, 48, of Morehead, pleaded guilty in July to six counts of first-degree trafficking. In addition to the prison sentence, Carter must also pay restitution and forfeit property, particularly a custom-fitted van.

    He was arrested last October and charged with nine counts of trafficking in a controlled substance. He was among dozens arrested in Sheriff Jack Carter’s “Operation Rowan Roundup” drug sweeps.

    Lance Carter has been in custody at the hospital ward of the Kentucky State Reformatory at LaGrange for nine months and was transported by ambulance to the sentencing.

    The quadriplegic was wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher by KSR inmates and prison personnel.

    Maze sentenced Carter to serve four years concurrently on five Class D felonies and seven years on one Class C felony. The latter is to be served consecutive to the others, for a total of 11 years.

    Under Kentucky statute, Carter will be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of his sentence and also will get credit for time served. He has already served more than 350 days in prison.  Under these stipulations, Carter will likely be free in a little more than one year.

    He may have difficulty getting around though, because he was ordered to forfeit property that had been used in his trafficking operation. Included is a specially-fitted van that Carter said he needed to keep because of his health situation.

    Maze denied his claim after testimony indicated that the van was used for illegal activity.

    “A lead deputy was able to determine and testify that the van had been used to transport drugs,” said Rowan Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Cline.

    Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Ronnie Goldy said property can be forfeited if it can be connected to drug activity.

    “The testimony provided confirmed the van was used in picking up drugs from a supplier and bringing it into Rowan County and distributing it in this community,” Goldy said.

    Cline said the van would be appraised and that Carter may have the option of purchasing it back from the county. He said the forfeiture sends the right message to drug traffickers.

    “It tells the illegal drug traffickers out there that not only can you be put in jail, but you can lose your property by violating the law. That’s what the forfeiture law was designed for,” Cline said.

    Noelle Hunter can be reached at or by telephone at 784-4116.

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