May 26, 2011
Contact: Brian McNeal
Phone Number: (571) 362-1498
Head Of Western Kentucky Meth Conspiracy Sentenced To 10 Years Fed Time For Distribution And Money Laundering
Lewis Smithhart used auto mechanic business as front for selling “speed”
OWENSBORO, KY - David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky announced today that the last two defendants in a Henderson County drug conspiracy have been sentenced in United States District Court. The sentencing of Lewis Smithhart and William Coomes, both of Henderson, Kentucky, brings to conclusion the successful prosecution of a methamphetamine distribution and money laundering organization in Henderson, Kentucky.
United States District Court Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr. sentenced Lewis Shane Smithhart, age 41, to 120 months in prison, followed by five years supervised release and William D. Coomes, age 38, to 63 months in prison, followed by five years supervised release. The sentences were handed out for their respective roles in possessing more than 50 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and for conspiracy to launder money.
On November 4, 2009, a federal grand jury in Bowling Green, Kentucky, indicted eleven co-conspirators including Smithhart, Coomes, Robert Burdon, Daniel R. Craig, Joseph LawrenceMoseley, Steve Peak, Charles R. Murch, Chandra N. Luttrell, Alicia Ann Higgs, Amanda Jo Hays, all on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. All of those defendants had previously plead guilty and have been sentenced to serve time in federal prisons. A twelfth defendant, who was not fully identified, and known only as Stacy, a/k/a "Shorty", was also indicted, and is currently a fugitive from justice.
According to court records, beginning in December 2007, and continuing until November 7, 2009, the Smithhart Brothers’ Garage, located in Henderson, Kentucky was used as a front business for a drug trafficking organization that was run by Shane Smithhart. Although there was legitimate auto mechanic business being performed at the garage, the Smithhart Brother’s Garage was also a location where individuals could purchase methamphetamine, which formed the basis for the conspiracy to launder money charge in the federal superseding indictment. Specifically, on four separate occasions, Shane Smithhart was recorded by undercover audio or video surveillance selling quantities of methamphetamine.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Kinnicutt and it was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), Kentucky State Police, Henderson Police Department, and Internal Revenue Service.