U.S. Attorney tells of hope for partnerships with local level officials

Posted July 31, 2019 at 8:48 am

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United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman spent some time last week talking with local officials on having better communication with state and local law enforcement agencies. Above, Coleman, left, shook hands with Clinton County Attorney Michael Rains and County Clerk Jake Staton before addressing a larger crowd in the Eddie C. Lovelace Courtroom.

United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman came to Clinton County last week and met with several local officials last Tuesday, July 23, in the Eddie C. Lovelace Courtroom on the second floor of the Clinton County Courthouse.

Coleman spoke to several people on hand about the opportunities for law enforcement coordination between local, state and federal law enforcement.

“I’m not running for anything or selling a product. What I’m selling is the Feds,” Coleman said. “What I’m selling is the United States Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement. What I’m selling is for us to be better partners.”

Coleman said he believes that federal law enforcement hasn’t been present outside a handful of counties in the State of Kentucky.

“There are 53 counties in the western district and a little more than two million people,” Coleman said. “We enforce federal law and the role of the U.S. Attorney has evolved quite a bit.”

Coleman said the development of the federal law enforcement agency was to mainly go after three criminal laws which included piracy, treason and counterfeiting.

“We don’t prosecute much of that anymore,” Coleman said. “Law enforcement was designed by those brilliant people who founded our country, to essentially be a state and local matter. In the government we are always playing catchup, so congress continued to give the federal government additional authority.”

According to Coleman, the federal government, as far as lawyers and law enforcement are concerned, spends most of its time working the same cases that state and local law enforcement agencies work on … drugs.

“We spend a lot of time on narcotics cases,” Coleman said. “That is because we are underwater. When I stepped into this role, it didn’t take a scientist to realize we needed to do something about gang driven violence and we have to do something about these opioid deaths.”

Coleman said there were 426 opioid deaths in one county.

“That’s 426 pews without somebody sitting here. And its easy to say that’s just Louisville, but that’s 426 families who don’t have anyone sitting at the dinner table,” Coleman said.

One of the reasons Coleman was mainly talking about Louisville is because of the spread that covers outside of Louisville.

“We are seeing so much bleed over beyond Elizabethtown and as far over as Paducah. So much of the violence and drugs we are seeing were a source from Louisville,” Coleman said.

Most of the methamphetamine that reaches Albany, originated from Mexico and were transported through Louisville.

Clinton County Sheriff Jeff Vincent said most of the stuff they find does, infact, come from Louisville these days and the drug scene has changed in the past five years.

“I’ve been out of the game for several years, but when I was a trooper, it was almost daily we would get a meth lab,” Vincent said. “Now a lot of our meth is coming out of Louisville.”

Meth labs are basically a thing of the past. According to Coleman, when people cooked meth it was a low grade product with a high cost. Now, since it comes from Mexico, the product is of higher grade and costs less.

“That’s exactly what we’ve seen over the past have a dozen years,” Coleman said.