Lexington True Crime 2021 – Meth and fentanyl ring busted by feds
The following court documents come from 5:21-cr-00111-DCR-MAS, USA v. Robertson, et al., a federal drug trafficking case that alleges several defendants operated a meth and fentanyl trafficking ring out of Lexington. Most of the defendants in the case have pleaded guilty to federal charges. Some are still awaiting trial.
Criminal Complaint by ATF agent
- In late calendar year 2020, Gateway HIDTA with ATF began an investigation of a possible drug trafficking organization involving an individual named Casey Creech (hereinafter Creech) and his paramour, Brenda Nicole “Nikki” Fugate (hereinafter Fugate) for distribution of multiple ounce level quantities of methamphetamine. The investigation has revealed that Fugate resides at 11xx Ashford Lane in Lexington, Kentucky and is using this location to conduct unlawful drug transactions, including methamphetamine and heroin/fentanyl, and to store said unlawful drugs.
- Through investigation, it was discovered that Creech and Fugate’s source of supply of methamphetamine and heroin/fentanyl is Craig Dupree Robertson (hereinafter Robertson). Robertson, originally from California, is suspected of arranging for the importation of controlled substances from California to Kentucky. In addition, investigators have learned that Robertson employs Creech, Fugate, and potentially others, to distribute the drugs in bulk quantity in Kentucky. Robertson makes frequent trips to Fugate’s residence at 11xx Ashford Lane as well as a storage facility located at 7xx Newtown Pike in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. Additionally, in February 2021, investigators learned that Robertson directed Fugate to rent a separate apartment, located at Steeplechase Apartments at 3xx Lindenhurst Drive in Lexington, Kentucky. Pursuant to a records subpoena issued to the management of the Steeplechase Apartments, investigators confirmed that on February 17, 2021, Fugate completed the leasing paperwork for Unit #7xxx, in Building 7 in the Steeplechase Apartment complex. This apartment is being used as an additional storage location for unlawful drugs. While the lease was obtained in Fugate’s name, investigators are aware that neither Fugate nor Creech reside there.
December 11, 2020: Distribution of Two Ounces of Methamphetamine
- On Friday December 11, 2020, ATF and HIDTA investigators utilized a qualified confidential informant (CI) to conduct a monitored and recorded controlled purchase of approximately 57.64 grams of suspected methamphetamine from Creech and Fugate at a hotel on Harrodsburg Road in the Beaumont Center area of Lexington, Kentucky. Prior to dropping the CI off at the location to conduct the transaction, the CI observed another vehicle in the hotel parking lot that Creech has operated in the past. ATF Special Agent (SA) Sabrina Hager was able to provide Kentucky registration xxxxxx as the plate number of this vehicle. A check of this registration revealed that it is a gray 2001 Chevy pickup truck registered to Craig Robertson of 8xx Campbell Lane in Lexington, Kentucky. During the recorded drug transaction, Fugate is heard mentioning that Robertson had previously rented them a room at the Clarion Hotel. The suspected controlled substances were analyzed by a chemist with the Kentucky State Police Laboratory. Item 1 was .960 grams of a substance that contained fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance. Item 2 was 27.35 grams of a substance that contained methamphetamine, while Item 3 was 28.28 grams that contained methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance.
February 4, 2021: distribution of 12 ounces of methamphetamine
- On February 4, 2021, at around 2:00 pm, Gateway HIDTA Detectives Donovan Crabtree and Arthur Lacey were conducting surveillance of Fugate’s newly rented town home at 11xx Ashford Lane in Lexington. Detective Crabtree observed as a white female, whom he recognized as Fugate, exited the residence wearing a light blue sweatshirt. Fugate entered the driver side of a maroon in color Ford Escape. TFO Crabtree relayed this information to other investigators conducting surveillance as Fugate departed the area. On the same date, at approximately 4:18pm, ATF SA Sabrina Hager (via remote video surveillance) observed a maroon Ford Escape as it arrived and parked in the lot of 528 Booker Street in Lexington. No one was observed exiting this vehicle.
- During this timeframe, SA Hager observed (via remoted video surveillance) Robertson and an unknown black male, exited 19xx Sandersville Road and entered into a tan Chevrolet SUV bearing Kentucky license plate number xxxxxx (registered to Patricia Morgan).
- GPS information associated to the vehicle from a judicially approved tracking warrant indicated that the SUV departed from 19xx Sandersville Road and arrived at a Space Center Storage facility (located at 7xx Newtown Pike) at 4:24 pm. Data received from the GPS tracking device indicated that this vehicle then left the storage facility approximately three (3) minutes later. From there, the vehicle traveled directly to 5xx Booker Street, where SA Hager was able to confirm its arrival through remote video surveillance. The SUV parked directly in front of the building entrances. SA Hager observed as a black male, recognized to be Robertson, exited the driver side door and walked to the driver side of the parked maroon Ford Escape. Robertson appeared to converse with the vehicle’s occupant before returning to his SUV for a moment before unlocking the door of Unit #3. See below image.
- SA Hager then observed a white female (via remote surveillance camera), whom she recognized as Fugate, exit the Ford Escape and enter Unit #3 (identified as the Royal Lash Boutique, LLC1). Robertson was then observed removing a large brown paper bag with handles from the SUV and carrying the bag inside behind Fugate. See below images. 1 Investigators are aware that Patricia Morgan is the registered owner of the Royal Lash Boutique. Investigators are further aware that, based on extensive physical and electronic surveillance, that the Royal Lash Boutique appears to have few customers.
- Approximately thirteen minutes later, Fugate was observed exiting the business with what appears to be the same bag that Robertson had earlier carried in, returning to the aforementioned Ford Escape and leaving the parking lot. The registration for this maroon SUV was observed to be Kentucky xxxxxx, registered to AF Title Company of Memphis, Tennessee.
- Investigators were able to follow Fugate as she drove the vehicle out of the area, ultimately returning to 11xx Ashford Lane. HIDTA Detective Matt Reed noted a white Ford Mustang known to be registered to Fugate (and also operated by her in past instances), was also parked at the residence. Around 5:32pm, Detective Reed observed a white Ford Ranger arrive and back into a parking space near 11xx Ashford Lane. A white female, recognized by HIDTA Detectives Kalan Perdue and Matt Reed as Angela Halsey (hereinafter Halsey), and an unknown white male, exited the vehicle and proceeded inside 11xx Ashford Lane.
- At approximately 6:00 pm, Angela Halsey and the aforementioned unknown white male exited the townhome. Local traffic caused for a slightly obstructed view, but surveillance was able to determine that Halsey and this unknown male departed in the aforementioned white Ford Ranger. HIDTA Detectives initiated mobile surveillance of this white Ford Ranger. Meanwhile, the GPS tracker affixed to the tan Chevrolet SUV known to be operated by Robertson indicated that this vehicle visited the area of 11xx Ashford Lane shortly after the departure of the Ford Ranger. No observations were made of the operator of this vehicle as it arrived on Ashford Lane, though investigators are aware that Robertson was operating this vehicle only hours earlier.
- HIDTA Detectives were able to follow the aforementioned white Ford Ranger until, due to weather conditions, visual contact was lost along eastbound Interstate 64 in Clark County, Kentucky. Suspecting that Halsey had just received a supply of controlled substances from Fugate, and further suspecting that she would be traveling to Montgomery County, Kentucky, to distribute said controlled substances, Mount Sterling Police Officers were alerted to be on the lookout for Halsey and the white Ford Ranger.
- On February 4, 2021, Halsey was located sitting in a vehicle outside of the Ramada Inn in Mount Sterling by Mount Sterling Police Department officers. Officers ultimately seized approximately 12 ounces of suspected methamphetamine and $1,800 in U.S. Currency from Halsey’s hotel room. Halsey was arrested in connection with this seizure. HIDTA investigators conducted an in-custody interview of Halsey at the Montgomery County Jail the following morning. Halsey agreed to speak to investigators and admitted that the substance seized from her incident to her arrest was methamphetamine and that she had purchased this methamphetamine from Brenda Fugate at Fugate’s residence on Ashford Lane.
March 19, 2021: possession of a large quantity of suspected methamphetamine by Fugate at 11xx Ashford Lane
- On March 19, 2021, at approximately 6:00pm, Creech spoke to Fugate on a video call. Fugate said that she was getting out of the car at the house (11xx Ashford Lane) and was at the other apartment (known to be Steeplechase Apartment #7xxx) to meet “Bodyguard 1.” Creech asked why she went to meet him, and Fugate said, “I had to go over there, ya know”. Fugate then held up a package which appears to be tightly bound in blue plastic wrap. Investigators, through training and experience, know that drug traffickers commonly utilize plastic wrap to package and tightly secure bulk quantities of narcotics. See below image.
- A review of GPS tracker data related to Fugate’s Mercedes, with KY license plate #xxxxxx, being tracked pursuant to tracking warrant 21-MJ-5086, revealed that on March 19, 2021, at 5:21 pm the vehicle was located in the Steeplechase Apartment complex in the parking area in front of Building 7, near Unit #7xxx. The vehicle departed around 5:30 pm and arrived at Fugate’s residence just after 6:00 pm as Fugate indicated during the aforementioned video call with Creech.
March 21, 2021: Video Jail Call
- At 1:04 pm on March 21, 2021, during a video call, Creech asked what project Fugate had “Pooty” come to her house to work on previously. Fugate responded by telling Creech to “watch” as she demonstrated how a wall mirror (in her bedroom at 11xx Ashford Lane) swung open on hinges to reveal a wall safe behind it.
39. Later in the video call, Fugate displayed a box of plastic sandwich bags to Creech and said they are for her lunch, then laughed as they are set aside. She reached for another item off screen and appeared to manipulate it before the camera (phone) apparently falls. As it does, Fugate’s hand can be seen, as she sets a plastic baggie down on the bedside table. The baggie is twisted and tied around a white powdery substance. Next to the baggie, there further appears to be white powdery residue believed to be a controlled substance.
April 21, 2021: Second Arrest of Angela Halsey
- On April 21, 2021, law enforcement in Mt. Sterling received new information that Angela Halsey was staying in a local motel, again distributing drugs. Investigators approached the room occupied by Halsey and made contact with her. Investigators obtained consent to search Halsey’s room. This search yielded the discovery of more methamphetamine. As before, Halsey admitted that Fugate had just supplied her with a pound of methamphetamine and further admitted that she had seen four (4) additional pounds of methamphetamine in Fugate’s purse. Halsey was again arrested. The suspected methamphetamine was sent to the DEA Mid-Atlantic Laboratory for analysis. Testing by a forensic chemist at the DEA Laboratory revealed as follows: Exhibit 28 was 445.9 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride that was 78% pure; Exhibit 29 was .205 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride that was 98% pure; Exhibit 30 was 42.1 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride that was 79% pure; Exhibit 31 was 53.67 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride that was 83% pure; Exhibit 32 was 14.94 grams of fentanyl; Exhibit 33 was .389 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride that was 64% pure; and Exhibit 34 was 2.309 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride that was 92% pure.
August 2, 2021: distribution of ½ pound of methamphetamine and 2 ounces of heroin/fentanyl
- On August 2, 2021, investigators suspected that an individual operating a black Lexus sedan may be traveling to locales in Eastern Kentucky to distribute controlled substances on behalf of Robertson and Brenda Fugate. Law enforcement officers and HIDTA detectives established points of observation along Interstate 64 East in Clark County to look for the subject vehicle.
- An officer with the Winchester Police Department was on patrol in a marked unit and observed a black Lexus sedan consistent with the one previously observed by officers during this investigation. As Officer Bloom with the Winchester P.D. attempted to get behind this vehicle, the officer observed the driver make an abrupt turn into a driveway located at an address on Lexington Road, Winchester Kentucky. Officer Bloom ultimately made contact with the driver in the driveway. Detective Purdue located a black backpack that had been discarded from the vehicle. Inside, approximately ½ pound of suspected methamphetamine and 2 ounces of heroin/fentanyl were found. Identification cards issued to the driver of the vehicle were also found in the backpack. The driver stated that there would be “personal use” narcotics inside the backpack.
- The driver was transported to the Winchester Police Department for a post-Miranda interview. The driver (now cooperating source or CS-1) agreed to provide a statement. CS-1 stated that the source of the drugs found in his/her possession is a male subject whom CS-1 knows as Steve Robertson (hereinafter referred to simply as Robertson, as it is the opinion of investigators that CS-1 was referring to the male subject known as Craig Robertson). CS-1 accurately described his address in the location that investigators know Robertson to reside. CS-1 admitted that he has met Robertson at his residence on various occasions to obtain heroin/fentanyl from him. CS-1 described going inside the residence to conduct the transactions, specifically, upstairs in the residence.
- CS-1 further described an apartment unit location that investigators know to be the Steeplechase Apartments at 3xx Lindenhurst Drive as a meeting location where he has obtained multiple pounds of methamphetamine from Robertson. CS-1 stated that s/he has been inside this apartment unit and described it as having little to no furniture. CS-1 stated that no one resides at this apartment unit on a full-time basis, but Robertson does allow acquaintances from California to stay there when visiting. CS-1 advised that s/he has seen pound level quantities of methamphetamine present at this apartment on numerous occasions. CS-1 stated that Fugate maintains a residence on Ashford Drive in Lexington where she also stores drugs on Robertson’s behalf.
- CS-1 stated that the controlled substances found in his/her possession on this date were obtained from Robertson and Fugate the day prior (August 1, 2021) at the Steeplechase Apartments where s/he was supplied with methamphetamine. CS-1 advised that s/he then met with Robertson at his residence to obtain the heroin/fentanyl from inside Robertson’s residence. CS-1 stated that Robertson obtains resupply of drugs via the U.S. Mail and also surmised that individuals fly to California and drive drugs back to Kentucky on Robertson’s behalf. CS-1 admitted that s/he had been distributing multiple ounce or pound quantities of methamphetamine obtained from Robertson and Fugate. CS-1 further admitted distributing ounce quantities of heroin/fentanyl obtained from Robertson and Fugate. CS-1 provided information in an attempt to lessen his/her criminal liability and/or sentence for drug trafficking offenses. CS-1 has a prior felony conviction for trafficking in a controlled substance first degree, less than 2 grams of methamphetamine, from 2018.
August 12, 2021: Controlled Purchase of Narcotics from Brenda “Nikki” Fugate at 11xx Ashford Lane
- On August 12, 2021, ATF, Gateway HIDTA and DEA utilized a HIDTA CI to conduct a purchase of suspected methamphetamine and heroin from Fugate. Prior to the purchase, SA Hager utilized judicially approved remote video cameras to conduct surveillance of Fugate’s residence at 11xx Ashford Lane. At approximately 12:33pm, SA Hager observed Fugate leave her residence, carrying a black bag. Fugate got into a silver Corolla (with Kentucky registration plate xxxxxx) and left the area.
- Around 1:54pm, Fugate was again observed via the remote video surveillance on Ashford Lane as she was dropped off by an unknown grey Toyota truck. Fugate appeared to be carrying an additional black bag as she entered the residence.
- Agents and officers met to conduct a briefing for the anticipated controlled drug transaction. Afterwards, the CI traveled to Fugate’s residence, followed by law enforcement, to purchase the narcotics. Fugate was captured on video recording equipment inside 1164 Ashford Lane as she distributed narcotics to the CI. (see image below). A blue package could also be observed near Fugate as she appeared to be retrieving narcotics for the CI from a black bag.
After the purchase, the CI was observed exiting the residence and was again followed by law enforcement to a pre-determined location, having purchased (with ATF approved funds) a quantity of 1/2 pound of suspected methamphetamine for $2,000 and an ounce of suspected heroin for $1,500. The CI advised that Fugate had a large amount of methamphetamine nearby wrapped in blue packaging, which had been opened. The packaging appeared consistent with the packaging of other suspected controlled substances possessed by Fugate during this investigation, e.g., the suspected narcotics in the image at paragraph 21 above. The CI surmised that the large amount was being repackaged into smaller quantities for distribution. According to the CI, Fugate retrieved the heroin from inside her black oversized purse.[Affidavit of Sabrina G. Hager, Special Agent, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 9/22/2021, Case: 5:21-cr-00111-DCR-MAS Doc #: 1-1]
According to the indictment:
The property sought for forfeiture includes, but is not limited to:
CURRENCY: a) $25,700.00 in United States currency; b) $64,100.00 in United States currency; ‘ c) $7,080.00 in United States currency; d) $2,093.00 in United States currency; e) $16,000.00 in United States currency; f) $875.00 in United States currency. [Case: 5:21-cr-00111-DCR-MAS Doc #: 14 Filed: 10/21/21 Page: 14 of 18 – Page ID#: 103]
FIREARMS AND AMMUNTION: a) North American Arms .22 caliber revolver, model NAA22, with serial number L147409. b) Charter Arms .38 caliber revolver, model undercover with serial number 179346. c) Glock 9 mm pistol, model 17, with serial number SVG346. d) Marlin Firearms Company shotgun, 12-gauge bolt-action shotgun, Glenfield Model 50 and serial number unknown. e) Winchester 16-gauge shotgun, model l 400MKII, with serial number N481696. t) Ruger 556 caliber rifle, model AR-556 with serial number 850-81240. g) Haskell .45 caliber pistol, model JHP with serial number 4306620. h) Ruger .380 caliber pistol, model LCPI I, with serial number 380804525. i) Miscellaneous ammunition and magazines.