Local News

September 27, 2013

64 face prescription drug-related charges (Updated 9 p.m.)

Authorities have arrested 55 people and are searching for nine others following a three-month undercover operation focusing on prescription drug abuse.

The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office’s Narcotics Unit led the investigation which culminated in 64 people being charged, mostly for illegal sale of a prescription medication. On Thursday, four teams of 18 deputies along with officials from the Murray County Sheriff’s Office and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration made most of the arrests. They were still in the process of attempting to pick up the nine others as of Friday evening.

Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office Maj. John Gibson said officials have held similar operations in the past. This one, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office, started after officials noticed a “steady increase in arrests and overdoses, many involving deaths, due to the illegal use of prescription medication.”

Gibson estimated that locally there have been five or six deaths related to prescription drug abuse this year alone. Most of the arrests Thursday were related to abusing painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycotin, he said, but other substances were involved.

The news release states the individuals arrested sold their prescriptions in various ways and places.

“One female would make a monthly visit to her ‘pain doctor’ and receive her monthly supply of pain medication,” according to the release. “She would then have her customers meet her in the parking lot of a local drug store. Upon getting her prescription filled, she would sell all her medication in the parking lot of the drug store. She was making over $3,000 a month selling her entire prescription.”

At an unnamed business on East Morris Street, the owner was selling his prescription medication from his business, officials said. Still another person living in Macon would regularly make the nearly 200-mile trip to Dalton to sell his prescriptions here, according to the release. On top of that, some people getting treatment for drug addiction at a methadone clinic were selling their methadone on the street, officials said.

Prescription drug abuse often starts seemingly innocently, Gibson said. The sellers often obtain the drugs through legal means and then resell them on the street, knocking up the value exponentially. A month’s supply of painkillers, for example, could net $2,000 or so for its seller.

“Hydrocodone and oxycodone both are a time-released pill,” Gibson said. “What (abusers often do) is they crush it up and make it into a liquid form and they can either shoot it intravenously or they can crush it up and snort it and it gets an intense high. It’s really potent in that format.”

It can also be potentially dangerous, which is why Gibson said some people use the drug to commit suicide and others overdose accidentally in an effort to get high. Gibson said officials hope this operation deters sellers and results in anyone with an addiction problem who was arrested getting the help they need.

Those arrested by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office include:

• Darrell David Branson, 37, 1663 Stoney Point Circle, Rocky Face, was charged Thursday with manufacture of marijuana and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

• Jessica Kate Brooker, 35, 173 Lillian Drive, Dalton, was charged Thursday with four counts of possession of opium to distribute, two counts of sale of or intent to sell marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a felony.

• Harold Lee Burrell III, 38, 2204 Old Ivy Way, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession to distribute a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Casey Edward Cain, 22, 201 Alamo Way, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• James Nick Carter Sr., 48, 826 Henderson Drive, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Melanie Grace Chambers, 33, 1509 Thornebrooke Circle, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Michael Eugene Cross, 38, 2460 Kittle Road, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• David Alexander Davis, 46, 1004 Croy Drive, Dalton, was charged Friday by the Dalton Police Department with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Garry Ladane Eaton, 28, 717 Trammel St., Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession of meth to distribute, possession of a schedule 3 drug, possession of meth and possession of tools for the commission of a crime.

• Linda Ann Emberson, 46, 1922 Springchase Way, Dalton, was charged Thursday with felony possession of drug-related items.

• Lamar James Gamblin, 63, 3194 Hurricane Road, Rocky Face, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Victoria Francis Gardepe, 43, 2814 Lyle Lane, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Tiffany Bliss Hamilton, 35, 2304 Old Ivy Way-3, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession of a schedule 3 drug.

• Jeffery Brandon Hammock, 28, 122 Hester Circle, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Logan Skylar Hartshorn, 20, 3813 Tibbs Bridge Road, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession of a schedule 2 drug.

• Chandler Dawn Henry, 20, 4160 Airport Road, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Phillip Michael House, 49, 1208 Applewood Drive-6, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of or intent to sell marijuana and sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Nathan Allen Lewis, 27, 120 Sun Ray-1, Varnell, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Sonya Denise Lewis, 51, 198 Crabtree Drive, Tunnel Hill, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Rosie Lee Maddox, 58, 2144 Lawson Drive, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Mary Jane Manseill, 69, 519 W. Hawthorne St.-A14, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Raymond Junior McHan, 55, 1317 E. Morris St., Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession to distribute a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Casey Mingle, 25, 3122 Kenwood Lane, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Christie Ann Morton, 34, 110 Weaver Road Spur, Chatsworth, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Joseph Marion Norman, 70, 366 CCC Camp Road, Eton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Larry Willis Owens, 52, 319 Stanley St., Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Colty Leon Parker, 25, 160 Elton Drive S.E., Apartment 6, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of or intent to sell marijuana, possession of a schedule 3 drug, possession of meth to distribute and possession of tools for the commission of a crime.

• Paul Cody Pellom, 24, 145 Scenic Valley Place-14, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession of a schedule 1 or 2 drug to distribute.

• Lamont Jason Saylors, 49, 3344 Chatsworth Highway, Chatsworth, was charged Thursday with sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Matthew Scott Shelton, 34, 1211 Burlyson, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession to distribute a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Michael Shane Smith, 38, 565 Brock Drive-A, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession to distribute a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Tonya Renee Smith, 35, 487 Mill Creek Road, Rocky Face, was charged Thursday with possession to distribute a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug.

• Ruben Henry Sproles, 41, 1318 Winton Drive, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession of a schedule 3 drug and possession of meth.

• Rodney Allen Stephenson, 47, 1938 Springchase Way, Dalton, was charged Thursday with sale of opium and sale of a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Kimberly Diann Watkins, 25, 880 Manis Road, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession of a schedule 3 drug; sale of a schedule 3, 4 or 5 drug; and possession of meth.

• Crystal Lynn Watson, 39, 207 Cowart Way, Dalton, was charged Thursday with possession to distribute a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Rachel Marie Watts, 24, 450 Davenport Road, Resaca, was charged Thursday with possession to distribute a schedule 1 or 2 drug.

• Jordan Todd Williams, 23, 1897 N. Summit Drive, Dalton, was charged Thursday  with sale of meth, possession of a schedule 3 drug, possession of meth to distribute and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a felony.

The following individuals were also charged, but hadn’t yet been processed into the morning booking report: Roy Byers, Deborah Canales, Adam Cobble, Lisa McDonald and Junior Parker.

Several more people were charged earlier than Thursday but within the last 90 days: Patricia Craig (currently in custody in another county), Cleaston Hunter, Jobbie Jones, Melissa Knight, Christy Martin, John McBee, Teresa McCullough, Robert Reynolds, Jonathan Revels, Brooklynn Richards, Sherona Sellers and Shaun West.

Warrants for the following individuals have been issued but they hadn’t been picked up as of Thursday afternoon: Sheri Ali, Andrew Collins, Connie Cooper, Jeremy Brook Hall, Ginger Morris, Linda Mullis, Dallas Patterson, Mira Poteet and Timothy Underwood.

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