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Press Release

Perry County Man Sentenced to 270 Months for Federal Charges of Kidnapping and Armed Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

LONDON, Ky— A Perry County man, Thomas Hamblin, 65, was sentenced to 270 months in federal prison on Tuesday, by U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom, after previously being convicted of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of that conspiracy, possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit a kidnapping.         

According to evidence presented at trial, Hamblin was working with others, including Bobby Sizemore, Robert Keith Caudill, and Doyle Back, to obtain kilogram quantities of cocaine, and to sell that cocaine to others in the Perry County area.  Evidence further revealed that, after an attempted drug deal, Hamblin coordinated with others, including Luke Holbrook and Michael Rayburn, to kidnap and assault two victims in Tazewell, Tennessee.  Specifically, Hamblin recruited Luke Holbrook into the plot and provided him with a firearm and ammunition.  Holbrook, assisted by Rayburn and another individual, then held two victims at gun point, tied them up with duct tape, assaulted them with a baseball bat, and interrogated them, in an attempt to retaliate against them and recover Hamblin’s money or drugs.  Portions of this kidnapping and assault were recorded on a cell phone that was recovered from the scene.  That same cell phone revealed that Hamblin was contacted in the middle of the assault and kidnapping.    

Hamblin was convicted of the charges in June 2021.  

Hamblin’s co-defendants have been sentenced to the following:

  • Bobby Sizemore, 64, of Cornettsville, Ky., was sentenced to 30 months and two years of supervised release.
  • Michael Rayburn, 39, of London, Ky., was sentenced to 135 months and three years of supervised release.
  • Luke Holbrook, 51, of Seco, Ky., was sentenced to 163 months of three years of supervised release.
  • Robert Caudill, 41, of Cornettsville, Ky., was sentenced to 78 months and five years of supervised release.
  • Doyle Back, 41, of London, Ky., was released based on time served (approximately 449 days) and received three years of supervised release.

Under federal law, Hamblin and his co-defendants must serve 85 percent of their prison sentence. Upon Hamblin’s release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for four years.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; J. Todd Scott, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Louisville Field Division; Vic Brown Executive Director of AHIDTA; Minor Allen, Chief of the Hazard Police Department; Nancy Hale, President/CEO of Operation UNITE; Jeremy Meyers, Chief of the Tazewell Police Department; Bob Brooks, Sheriff of the Claiborne County Tennessee Sherriff’s Department, and Commissioner Phillip “PJ” Burnett, Jr., Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, announced the sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA, the Hazard Police Department, Operation UNITE, the Tazwell Tennessee Police Department, the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department, and the Kentucky State Police.  The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Drew Trimble.

This case was prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities.  It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts.  In the Eastern District of Kentucky, Acting U.S. Attorney Shier coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement.

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CONTACT: Gabrielle Dudgeon
PHONE: (859) 685-4887

Updated October 27, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking