On Tuesday, a scene unfolded at the BP that showed just how out in the open the drug problem there has become.
Sheriff's deputies found a bag stuffed with $32,000 worth of prescription drugs, cash and syringes in a garbage can at the Coldiron BP Kwik Mart. That's after they found two women had locked themselves in the ladies room for more than 10 minutes, leaving behind an empty syringe when they emerged.
Jeremy Peggs, 28, was arrested and charged with drug trafficking and possession of drug paraphernalia after police saw him walk away from the trash can where the bag of drugs was allegedly stashed.
Peggs was also charged as a persistent felony offender in the first degree. He faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Sgt. Michael Lunsford of the Harlan County Sheriff's Department said he's received many complaints from employees and citizens about drugs and other illegal activity at the Coldiron BP.
On Tuesday, he saw the problem firsthand when he stopped to pick up a bottle of water at the Kwik Mart and found out two women were holed up in the bathroom. As he waited for the women to come out, Lunsford noticed Peggs acting nervously, he said.
When the women whose names are being withheld as police continue their investigation came out of the bathroom and police discovered the left-behind syringe, Peggs took off.
Deputy Jayson Howard arrived on the scene to see Peggs hurrying away from a trash can. When he looked inside, Howard said he found the bag full of drugs.
Inside the bag were 305 morphine pills, 150 methadone pills and 27 valiums, as well as cash and several syringes.
All three individuals were taken in for questioning.
Peggs was arrested and at press time was still in jail. His bond is set at $30,000 cash. Neither woman was charged with drug trafficking or possession, Lunsford said.
More arrests are possible as the investigation continues, Jayson Howard said.
James Howard owns the Coldiron BP, along with four other gas stations in the county.
He said he's not surprised at Tuesday's scene.
"We see this stuff all the time down there," said James Howard. "It's a really terrible problem, and you just think it's never going to end; it never gets any less."
He said any time employees notice illegal activity at the Kwik Mart another common complaint is prostitution they fill out a form to ban the miscreants from BP property.
"That's about all we can do," Howard said.