State of Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security


Division of State Police


Superintendent Robert M. Coupe


DSP News Release: Drugs and Dog Fighting Equipment Seized, Two Brothers Arrested 


Location: 12000 block of Old State Road, Ellendale, DE


Date of Occurrence: Thursday April 22, 2010


Missing Person


Ray Purnell, 31, of Old State Road, Ellendale, DE

Thomas Purnell, 22, of Old State Road, Ellendale, DE




Delaware State Police have arrested two brothers on drug charges. One brother also faces additional charges for dog fighting and animal cruelty.


On Thursday, April 22, 2010 state troopers assigned to the Drug Task Force and the Governor’s Task Force in Sussex County concluded an investigation into the illegal distribution of Marijuana by Ray Purnell of Old State Road, Ellendale, DE. This investigation was initiated in May 2009


On Thursday, April 22, 2010 troopers obtained a Search Warrant for the residence. The assistance of Kent County SPCA was enlisted for dog control issues.  Ray Purnell was not at the residence. His brother, Thomas Purnell was linked to the distribution of marijuana, and was arrested without incident.  During the search of the residence and surrounding property, approximately ˝ lb (218.6 grams) of marijuana was located in a large white duffle bag. $500.00 cash was seized from Thomas Purnell. The marijuana was located in the midst of a large “kennel” area to the rear of the property. Contained in this area were 24 Pit Bull dogs of various ages. The condition of the dogs indicated that several were recently involved in “dog fighting”, as numerous serious injuries were observed.  Two dog training treadmills were observed along with a “rape” stand for impregnating female dogs. Inside and outside the residence numerous injectable animal anti-biotics were located. Other medications used for the treatment of animal wounds were also observed. All of the above items were seized, and subsequently turned over to the Kent and Sussex Animal Control Officers. All 24 dogs located at the residence were seized by the SPCA.


Thomas Purnell was charged with Possession with the Intent to Deliver Marijuana, Conspiracy 2nd, Maintaining a Dwelling, Tampering with Evidence, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Thomas Purnell was committed to the Department of Correction in lieu of secured bond.  Ray Purnell was arrested on Friday, April 23, 2010 on the same drug charges as his brother. HE was committed to the Department of Corrections in default of $7,000 bail. Felony Arrest Warrants are also currently pending for Ray Purnell for Dog Fighting and Animal Cruelty. These charges are being obtained by the Sussex SPCA.



            Thomas Purnell                                Ray Purnell



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