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NEW INFO: Federal Charges Filed Against Johnson Co. Sheriff Hopeful

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

Federal Criminal Complaint

UPDATE 7/15/13 @ 2 p.m.
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A man who expressed interest in running for Johnson County Sheriff is now facing federal drug charges.

According to a criminal complaint from the US District Court, John T. Kline has been charged with carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and distribution of a controlled substance (oxycodone).

The complaint was filed on July 10.

Kline was arrested earlier this month by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office along with several other law enforcement agencies after he was accused of selling 100 pills to an informant.

The local charges were dropped.

According to the criminal complaint, Kline told a confidential informant (CI) with the ATF that he was "one of the largest pill dealers in Johnson County."

The CI told investigators that Kline carried a 9 mm gun and that Kline had told him that he "unloaded that particular gun on someone in the past."

The CI also told investigators that Kline had asked about acquiring explosives to "get even with someone for making a controlled narcotics purchase from him." He allegedly wanted to put the explosives in a car to teach them a lesson for wearing a wire for police.

According to the complaint, the CI asked if Kline would be interested in having someone kill and/or harm the person Kline wanted to get even with. Kline said he would and said he would give the CI 20 Oxycodone pills if they took care of it.

Investigators say Kline traveled to Indianapolis and talked about going to Georgia to get prescriptions filled.

Kline also told the CI that he had Soma and Xanax pills delivered to his house.

No word when Kline will be in court on the charges.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 7/10/13 @ 3:20 p.m.
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – A man who wants to wear the sheriff’s badge in Johnson County now faces federal charges in connection with his recent arrest.

On Friday, Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested John Kline, 42, of West Van Lear.

Sheriff Dwayne Price says Kline was arrested after he allegedly sold 100 prescription pain pills to undercover deputies.

Sheriff Price said his department has been investigating Kline for more than 18 months. He says Kentucky State Police, Operation UNITE and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have also been involved in the investigation.

In a press release, Price said “Mr. Kline was found to be 'doctor shopping' in multiple states, and is believed to be responsible for bringing thousands of pills into our region.”

The Sheriff says after deputies arrested Kline, who had a gun on him at the time they searched his house in West Van Lear.

Price says they found 18 guns, 16 pistols and two long rifles, as well as approximately $400 in cash. Investigators also recovered the $3,000 in cash that deputies had just used to make the undercover buy. Price noted that Kline did have a valid concealed carry permit.

Kline’s preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday morning in Johnson County District Court. Court officials tell WSAZ.com the hearing was canceled and the local charges dismissed without prejudice due to the federal charges.

Price says Kline faces multiple federal trafficking charges.

WSAZ.com has contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to get information on the federal charges.

Sallee Conley Holbrook, the Johnson County clerk, told WSAZ.com on Monday that Kline had filed a “Statement of Candidacy” on March 4, 2013. That paperwork allows him to raise and spend money in conjunction with his campaign for sheriff.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/8/13
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – A man who wants to wear the sheriff’s badge is now behind bars, accused of selling 100 prescription pain pills to undercover deputies of the department he wants to run.

Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price said his department has been investigating 42-year-old John Kline for more than 18 months. Kentucky State Police, Operation UNITE and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have also been involved in the investigation.

“We've made several pill purchases from him, and through our investigation, we've found that he has visited multiple states,” Price said. “He's been doctor shopping, if you will, in like four or five different states, bringing thousands of pills into this community.”

Friday was the last straw – a sale of 100 pills, with an estimated value of $3,000 to $4,000. Prior to this undercover purchase, Price said his agents had bought about 10 pills at a time from Kline, which is enough to qualify each buy as a felony charge.

After deputies arrested Kline, who had a gun on him at the time, they searched his house in West Van Lear, Ky., with a warrant. They found 18 guns, 16 pistols and two long rifles – as well as approximately $400 in cash. They also recovered the $3,000 in cash deputies had just used to make the undercover buy. Price noted that Kline did have a valid concealed carry permit.

Sallee Conley Holbrook, the Johnson County clerk, told WSAZ.com on Monday that Kline had filed a “Statement of Candidacy” on March 4, 2013. That paperwork allows him to raise and spend money in conjunction with his campaign for sheriff.

“Mr. Kline submitted this [paperwork], saying he intended to run for Johnson County Sheriff in the 2014 primary as a Democrat candidate,” Holbrook said. “He’s going to be spending and raising money, and he has been filing the appropriate reports to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.”

Kline’s letter states, “This letter is to inform you that it is my intention to begin raising and/or spending money to run in the 2014 election, for the office of Johnson County Sherriff [sic]. It is my intent at this time to spend more than $3000.00 during the election.” Additional reports showed he had spent more than $400 on cards, signs and T-shirts for his election campaign.

Sheriff Price said Kline stopped into his office a few months ago to speak with him.

“Requested to talk to me, just wanted to let me know there was nothing personal, he was running for sheriff on the Democratic ticket, which, you know, I have no problem with that,” Price said. “Although I did know this investigation was going on, so that was a little bit of an awkward moment."

Holbrook noted that the statement of candidacy does not officially declare him a candidate – it just allows him to raise and spend money for his campaign. To officially declare his candidacy, she said he will have to file by November 2013 to participate in the May 2014 primary.

Neighbors in West Van Lear, who spoke with WSAZ.com off-camera, said they have seen quite a bit of traffic near Kline’s house. They said they’re relieved to hear he’s been arrested.

“I’ve probably had at least 15, 20 different people call [and] say, ‘Thank you, thank you for getting him out of here,’” Price said. “According to all the people I’ve talked to up there, that’s all he did is have traffic in and out of there.”

Price said because other agencies involved also had cases on Kline, the charges will all be handled in the federal system.

Kline is being held at the Big Sandy Detention Center on $50,000 cash bond.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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