Franklin County residents face drug charges


Three Franklin County residents were among 17 people taken into custody as part of a multi-county drug sweep Tuesday. The sweep was conducted by various local police agencies, county authorities, State Police, and federal agencies such as DEA, and U.S. Marshall’s services.  This is part of an ongoing investigation that also provided previous arrests last spring.

Taken into custody were: Sherri Gunter-Perkins 40, and Amber Scro-Cardwell 28, both of West Frankfort and Julie Woodlum 37, of Benton. These three county residents, and the other 14 arrested, are charged with providing psuedroephedrine pills, and methamphetamine manufacturing. All were previously indicted by a Franklin County Grand Jury.

According to a press release from the Illinois State Police, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Leggens will handle prosecution in the case.

West Frankfort Police arrest violent suspect


On Thursday at 7:27 p.m., West Frankfort Police received a report of a violent altercation between a man and a woman, on a parking lot behind Boomerang’s tavern.

A citizen called 911 to report the incident. The caller also provided a vehicle description and direction of travel.

Officers located the vehicle and made a stop in the 1000 block of east Main Street. The suspect fled the vehicle and was tackled by a Police officer half a block away.

Virgil O. Hammersly

According to Chief Jeff Tharp’s press release, Virgil O. Hammersly then tried to render the officer unconscious by choking. A second responding officer used a taser on Hammersly to subdue him.

Hammersly was taken to the Franklin County jail and charged with aggravated battery to a Police officer, resisting arrest and driving on a revoked license.

Information from the report has been forwarded to the office of Franklin County State’s Attorney Evan Owens for review.

West Frankfort man arrested on drug charges


Marion police have confirmed that a West Frankfort man was arrested on drug charges in Williamson County.

According to a list of recent arrestees from Chief John Eibeck’s office, 40-year-old Dennis Bowen was arrested Dec. 23rd.

Marion Kroger pharmacy employees are believed to have called Marion Police to report Bowen attempting to buy a methamphetamine precursor without a prescription. He was arrested and taken to the Williamson County Jail.

Eibeck told that he is currently out of the city, and could provide no immediate details.

One arrested, one sought in W.F. metal thefts


West Frankfort Police Chief Jeff Tharp has announced that one arrest has been made in a theft from an industrial business, and authorities are seeking a second suspect.

Ronald Pulliam

The thefts were reported in mid-December from Coal Age Industrial, located in the Industrial Park, west of the West Frankfort.  At that time, police began surveillance of the business, and video evidence was collected at the scene from security cameras.

On Jan. 3, West Frankfort Police arrested 24-year-old Ronald R. Pulliam of Johnston City. He was charged with theft over $500.

Steven Pulliam

Pulliam is accused of stealing large fabricated pieces of metal, which investigators believe he resold. Coal Age Industrial told investigators that since the thefts began, they have lost $30,000 in metal products.

Tharp said an arrest warrant has been issued for Steven Pulliam, 22, of Johnston City, as well. He is the brother of Ronald Pulliam Jr.  More arrests could be forthcoming, according to WFPD.

Franklin County man arrested for arson


Franklin County State’s Attorney Evan Owens has confirmed to that an arrest has been made in a New Year’s Eve fire that was allegedly intentionally set.

Cary L. Price, 60, of Franklin County was taken into custody, according to sources, after law enforcement officials followed snow tracks from 415 Franklin Ave. in Orient. West Frankfort fire fighters were called to that home just before midnight on New Years Eve. A small fire appeared to have been deliberately set near the back door of the home. It was quickly extinguished. Earlier reports say that there had been an altercation between the home’s occupant and Price.
No official details have been released, other than confirmation of the arrest.
Price has been charged with felony arson and residential arson class one felony.
A preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 16 at 1:30pm at the Franklin County Courthouse.

Benton Police arrest three


Benton Police made three arrests on New Year’s Day in two separate incidents.

Valerie L. Ortner, age 37, of Whittington was arrested Jan. 1 on an active Franklin County warrant for failure to appear.

In an unrelated incident, Joy L. Young, 30, of Benton and William M. Barger, 32, of Benton were charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia following a Jan. 1 traffic stop.

Officials investigate suspicious house fire in Orient

West Frankfort firefighters were called just before midnight Monday to a house fire on Franklin Street in Orient.
When fire crews arrived, there was a small fire detected at the rear of the home. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire quickly as it appeared to be smoldering grass or twigs.
According to sources, the fire may have been intentionally set. Sources say the homeowner informed authorities that a threat had been made following an argument earlier in the evening.
No official details are available, but some aggressive police work reportedly led to an arrest. It is believed that authorities followed footprints in the snow to a subject’s residence. is awaiting release of any name(s) associated with the arrest in the  possible arson fire.

Benton Police arrest two in separate incidents


On Dec. 28, Benton Police were called to a domestic disturbance in the 300 block of McFall Street. Charles Payton, 19, of Benton was charged with domestic battery.

On Dec. 29, Benton Police arrested Nicolle A. Poteete, 27, of Benton. She is charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, driving while license suspended, illegal transportation of alcohol, and driving an uninsured vehicle.

Two Benton men arrested


Benton Police report two arrests on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

Robby A. Poninski, 36, of Benton is charged with aggravated assault and domestic battery.

Shaun W. Beasley, 26, of Benton was arrested on domestic battery charges from an active Franklin County warrant. Beasley was also charged with obstructing justice.

Both men were booked at the Franklin County Jail.

Sex offender arrested at event for area children


West Frankfort Police confirm that a man was arrested at 11:40 a.m. Saturday at an annual Christmas charity event. Police Chief Jeff Tharp said that an anonymous tip summoned officers to the annual West Frankfort Elks Club Christmas party for local children.

Taken into custody was convicted sexual predator Roger Walters Jr. According to witnesses, Walters was quietly removed from the gathering, and handcuffed away from the party and out of view of the children attending.

Tharp says that Walters will be charged with Violation of the Child Sex Offender Registry Act.  Among the provisions of the law is one that prohibits a registered sex offender from knowingly being present at a facility providing services exclusively directed at children under age 18. Tharp said officers spoke with Elks officials who said the party was advertised for and specifically catered to children.

Walters was taken to the Franklin County Jail.

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