Clockwise from top left: Jesse Shaffer, Andrew Farmer, Colin Kotomski and James McCord
KINGSPORT — Sullivan County authorities said four men were arrested early Sunday after a botched drug deal resulted in another man being kidnapped at gunpoint and put in the trunk of their car.
Leslie Earhart, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said four suspects were arrested on a variety of felony charges as a result of the incident. The suspects are: Jesse Shaffer, 19, George Miller St., Gray; Andrew Farmer, 20, Oak Grove Road, Johnson City; Colin Kotomski, 18, Stuart Drive, Kingsport; and James McCord, 20, Maplehurst Lane, Bluff City.
All four men were charged with especially aggravated kidnapping, possession for resale and felony evading arrest.
Shaffer was charged with two additional counts of aggravated assault, while Farmer was also charged with aggravated burglary.
Earhart said the sheriff’s office began its investigation after receiving a report just after 2:30 a.m. Sunday of a kidnapping at 139 Belsay Drive in Kingsport.
The caller reportedly told central dispatch that a friend had been taken in a vehicle by several armed individuals.
Earhart said responding officers initiated a traffic stop while traveling to the scene after observing a car matching the description of the suspects’ vehicle on Sullivan Gardens Parkway.
The vehicle stopped at McCulley Lane, where three suspects allegedly fled on foot into a nearby wooded area. Earhart said a fourth suspect, McCord, was apprehended at the vehicle.
Earhart said officers were placing McCord in a cruiser when they noticed a sound coming from the trunk of the suspects’ vehicle.
After being located inside the trunk, the alleged victim was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Earhart said.
Authorities reportedly located Shaffer, Kotomski and Farmer a short time later following a search of the wooded area.
Detectives reportedly learned from the suspects’ statements that the alleged victim had been at the Belsay Drive residence visiting a friend when the incident occurred. An unidentified female was also reportedly at the residence.
According to witness statements, the ordeal allegedly began when the female contacted Kotomoski under the pretense of purchasing marijuana.
The female arranged to meet at a wooded area near Belsay Drive, where Kotomski arrived with Shaffer, Farmer and McCord.
Earhart said the female was handed several bags of marijuana before she ran from the scene without paying.
The alleged victim attempted to run but was ordered on the ground after one of the suspects fired a gunshot in his direction, Earhart said.
The suspects then allegedly kicked the alleged victim several times and demanded to know where the female went.
Earhart said the alleged victim directed the men to 139 Belsay Drive. Upon arriving, Farmer forced his way into the residence to search for the suspect, Earhart said.
Shaffer fired a gunshot at the owner of the home and ordered him to go back inside when he came out the door to see what was happening, Earhart said.
The men then reportedly forced the alleged victim into the trunk of the car at gunpoint before McCord drove away from the scene.
Earhart said the incident is still under investigation and that additional charges are pending.