Over the course of less than six hours Thursday, Williamsburg police arrested two people for driving while under the influence and three for public intoxication, all of whom were returning to Kentucky after a visit to the same Florida pain clinic.
Williamsburg Public Affairs Officer Shawn Jackson, who was the investigating officer in both cases, said all five people had been to American Pain Clinic in Boca Raton.
"This is just more of the prescription narcotic pipeline from Boca Raton, Florida, to Central and Eastern Kentucky. This is a very popular method of operation for drug users these days in Kentucky," Jackson said.
"The problem that is originating in Boca Raton is ridiculous. We are ending up with a problem here in Kentucky because the doctors are prescribing such a large amount of narcotics to drug users and drug traffickers here in the commonwealth."
About 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Jackson was patrolling on the interstate when he stopped a vehicle heading north on I-75 near the 13-mile marker, which was driving erratically.
"It has kind of become a trend for these people to come through our area very early in the morning," Jackson said. "I noticed this vehicle weaving in and out of the lane of travel that was driving with no regard for public safety.
"Upon conducting a traffic stop, I noticed right off the bat that the driver appeared to be highly under the influence with slurred speech and he was very unsteady on his feet."
Jackson charged driver Richard A. Lanter, 27, of Paris, with careless driving, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, no insurance, tampering with physical evidence, operating on a suspended/revoked operators license, and failure to wear seatbelt. He charged both passengers, Cynthia L. Brown, 35, of Cynthiana, and Shauna R. Hughes, 30, of Millersburg, with public intoxication. Jackson said that the two women had obtained legal prescriptions for Oxycodone and Xanax, which were in their proper containers.
"It is an unbelievable amount that these people are coming back with after one visit to the doctor. It just blows my mind every time I deal with these people," Jackson noted.
The driver also had some Oxycodone and Xanax pills, but he had no prescription, Jackson said. Lanter had prior felony convictions, including one for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and Jackson said he will probably ask the grand jury to issue a persistent felony offender charge too.
Shortly after 1 p.m., Jackson arrested a duo from Estill County that had also been to American Pain Clinic in Boca Raton. He stopped a 1996 Toyota near the 14-mile marker after observing it weaving in and out of its lane of travel, according to the arrest citation. Initially, the couple told police that they had gone on a trip to Gatlinburg, but Jackson said that after a few conflicting statements they confessed to going to American Pain Clinic. Jackson charged driver
Donald L. Stone, 29, of Ravenna, with careless driving, driving under the influence, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, and third-degree possession of a controlled substance. Jackson charged passenger Jacqueline R. Murphy, 36, of Irvin, with public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia and for having a prescription controlled substance not in its original container. He said that Murphy had obtained prescriptions for Oxycodone and Xanax, but that Stone had suspected Oxycodone and Xanax pills on him without having a prescription.
Police seized various drug paraphernalia including needles, syringes, and a pill crusher, Jackson said.
"The driver stated to us that he had been shooting up Roxies, which is a type of Oxycodone that has become very popular in this area for drug users," he said.
Jackson said that police will refer the information in both cases to the DEA for further investigation.
"We have logged all information on the subjects, the prescriptions, the doctors, and every bit of intelligence and information we can get on this is forwarded to the DEA," Jackson said. "We will continue a partnership with them and cooperate with them to see that this problem is handled accordingly."
All five were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. Bird, K-9 Officer Brandon Prewitt and Officer Jason Strunk all assisted with the investigation.