Accused drug dealer with Pineville and Middlesboro ties contesting seizure of property
From The Citizen Tribune with additions from WRIL
Accused Claiborne County drug dealer – and convicted murderer – Frank Lake is contesting the former characterization in an effort to hold onto $115,000 seized in back-to-back searches at his former residence on Brantley Road in April and March 2018, according to court documents.
The dispute is being adjudicated in U.S. District Court in London, Kentucky in a companion case to a pill-peddling case that’s already been resolved with a guilty plea. It’s unclear when Lake will be sentenced.
April 3rd of last year after a long investigation into drug trafficking in the cities of Pineville and Middlesboro, Appalachia Narcotics Investigations arrested 58 year old Jimmie Beth Smith (Messer) of Harrogate, Tennessee.
It is believed Smith and her live-in boyfriend, 68 year old Frank “Boss” Lake, were obtaining prescription medication in Tennessee, bringing those drugs into Kentucky and then selling the pills.
Appalachia Narcotics Investigations also believes that Lake and Messer used the proceeds from the illegal drug trade to purchase two businesses in Pineville, the first a food catering business and then Flocoe restaurant in downtown Pineville.
Despite FBI allegations to the contrary, Lake denies he is a drug trafficker and that the cash seized at his home came from drug sales, according to an answer to a government forfeiture motion and an affidavit in support of the motion.
Law enforcement officials confiscated $10,000 the first time they searched his home on April 3, along with more than 106 firearms he can’t legally possess because he’s a convicted felon, according to court documents.
Officials returned to Lake’s home in Harrogate and confiscated $105,000 after he called his girlfriend from jail – a conversation that was recorded – and told his live-in girlfriend, Jimmie Beth Smith, the money was hidden in an inoperable vehicle on the property, according to court documents.
“Claimant Lake has not heard such allegedly recording, and as such, denies (the FBI’s agent’s) statements therein,” Lake asserted in a court filing.
Lake has admitted selling oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax and Suboxone to an informant. The transactions, in which $3,610 changed hands, occurred in Middlesboro, Kentucky.
The FBI alleges he sold crystal meth and prescription drugs from his Tennessee residence. No public document suggests he’s been charged with drug-related crimes in Tennessee. His plea agreement in the Kentucky case states the deal “does not bind the United States attorney’s offices in other districts.”
Lake was convicted of capital murder in 1982, and selling marijuana in 1997, according to court documents.
The case was assigned to another judge on Jan. 14. Frank "Boss" Lake is being held in the Laurel County Detention Center.