All it usually takes for criminals to get caught is greed or bragging. In this investigation, it was a little bit of both.
Just a week after the initial break in the “Pappygate” and steroid crime ring, the case took an unexpected twist.
On April 29, 2015
One of the original indicted nine suspects, Sean Searcy, had bragged to one of his fellow Wild Turkey Distillery employees he had “sold some whisky to some cops in Frankfort and they’re all supposed to be steroid freaks, including a Wells boy.”
Sheriff detectives would interview the employee and the employee said this Wells guy was upset about Searcy bragging. Wells’ boss found out about it.
The rumors spread and I needed confirmation from the investigators or the prosecution that this “Wells boy” was exactly who I thought he was.
Any good journalist listens to rumors. Not for the sake of printing, but for the simple reason: there’s always a bit of truth in every lie.
This later proved true.
Neither the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office nor the Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office would confirm what I suspected.
I couldn’t publish anything that was speculation on my part. They wouldn’t comment as it was part of an ongoing investigation and I’m not in television.
The next day the information I needed would come out in public record.
When the Franklin County Sheriff’s detectives search warrants were filed into public record, the detective’s interview summary had my confirmation.
That “Wells boy” was not just a Frankfort City Police officer, but also a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer.
Breadcrumbs on the trail…
This wasn’t the first time sheriff detectives had seen Wells’ name in connection with the alleged crime ring leader Gilbert “Tony” Curtsinger .
When they seized Curtsinger’s cell phone during the search at his residence, detectives would find Wells’ name and number on Curtsinger’s phone — including several texts just prior to the search of Curtsinger’s home.
On March 23, detectives obtained a search warrant for Wells’ phone and confirmed the Frankfort police officer Mike Wells’ number was the same as the number logged on Curtsinger’s phone.
Several incriminating text messages were on Curtsinger’s phone.
Including one dated Feb. 17, 2015.
The search warrant description for this text message “Appears Mr. Curtsinger is placing his anabolic steroid order with Mr. Wells who will then order the steroids online. Mr. Curtsinger ends the conversation with ‘Give me a total and I’ll hook up with ya,’ Mr. Wells responds, ‘K will do.”
It would lead to Wells’ resignation from the city police department.
The Sheriff’s Office received three more barrels of stolen bourbon that week. But that’s not all.
Further down the Bourbon Trail
I will find out later Wells isn’t the only law enforcement officer involved in the steroid ring.