Five people were arrested Monday in connection with a counterfeiting and prescription drug raid on a Corbin tattoo parlor by local police and federal Secret Service agents.
Corbin Police officers, assisted by Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputies and members of the U.S. Secret Service, descended on Slinging Ink Tattoo Parlor Monday afternoon after receiving several tips about illegal counterfeit currency and drug trafficking at the business.
Once inside, officers found and seized about $5,600 in fake $100 bills, numerous Oxycontin pills and drug paraphernalia.
Arrested were: Jeff Lawson, 46, of Rockholds; Christopher Lawson, 27, of Rockholds; Chad Lawson, 26, of Williamsburg; George Lawson, 25, of Corbin; and Lakin Ayers, 18, of Williamsburg.
According to Corbin Police Sgt. Glenn Taylor Jr., who is spearheading the investigation into the case, police believe several of the suspects were making counterfeit money and selling the Oxycontin pills out of the tattoo parlor.
"Most of them lived there at the business and they also ran it," Taylor said. "I think they just had got started into the counterfeiting … It wasn’t really very good. They couldn’t get the right paper. They used a really good quality paper, but it didn’t feel like real bills. It had smears on it in some places."
According to Taylor, only $100 bills were being printed using a color copier. About $5,000 of the money was seized from the tattoo parlor. Another $600 was recovered from individuals whom the Lawson’s attempted to purchase a vehicle from.
"They called them in once they realized the money was fake," Taylor said. "It was kind of a deal where they gave them $600 as a down payment … It was real late at night when they gave them the money. The people didn’t realize it until the next morning."
The criminal charges include:
¥ Jeff Lawson – first degree trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia;
¥ Christopher Lawson – first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia;
¥ Chad Lawson – criminal possession of a forged instrument, first-degree;
¥ George Lawson – first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia;
¥ Lakin Ayers – criminal possession of a forged instrument, first-degree.
Taylor said police discovered pill bottles, filled at a Florida pain clinic recently, with about 800 Oxycontin pills missing from them. None of the suspects admitted to selling the pills, but Taylor said nearly all of them admitted to abusing the painkiller.
"It was really the pill count that got them," Taylor said. "There’s really no reasonable explanation for them to get those bottles filled last Friday and for that many to be gone already."
Syringes were also found at the parlor.
Police also seized a 2000 Ford Ranger that belonged to Jeff Lawson.
Authorities say Slinging Ink has been closed since the raid. Police seized the keys to the building. Taylor said the arrests caused the Lawsons to run afoul of their lease agreement.
"All of them getting arrested violated their rental contract, plus they were two months behind on their rent," Taylor said. "Slinging Ink is officially closed."
Police expect more arrests in connection with the case.
All five suspects were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center and remained there as of press time Tuesday.