On Monday, January 6, a Middlesboro man initially arrested for drug trafficking out of his business on 20th Street was formally sentenced to 12 years in prison.

75-year-old Ely “Cowboy” Hembree plead guilty on November 14, almost a year from his first arrest on the charges, to the two cases against him in Bell Circuit Court.

A two month long investigation prompted by anonymous community tips, lead to Middlesboro Police arresting Hembree at his former business “Cowboys Thrift Store.”

During the arrest, police found Alprazolam, Gabapentin, and Hydrocodone – along with $3,745 in cash they determined to be proceeds from the illegal sales of the drugs.

At the time Hembree was charged with trafficking a controlled substance – 1st degree, 1st offense, and two counts of trafficking a controlled substance – 3rd degree.

Hembree was once again arrested and served warrants on July 24, 2019 after another investigation, charging him with five counts of trafficking a controlled substance – 1st degree, 1st offense – drug unspecified, and 1 count of trafficking a controlled substance – 2nd degree, 2nd offense – drug unspecified.

Hembree was taken back into custody after the court hearing to begin his sentence

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