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Investigation Into Out-Of-State ‘Doctor Shopping’ Nets 34 Arrest Warrants

By: Jeff Gould Email
By: Jeff Gould Email

PRESTONSBURG – An ongoing investigation into the illegal purchase of prescription medications has resulted in 34 arrest warrants by Operation UNITE.

Nearly all of cases involved the unlawful procurement of a controlled substance – also known as “doctor shopping” – by fraudulently getting medication from doctors in Kentucky and at least two other states, said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for UNITE, adding “several of those being arrested today will likely face drug trafficking charges.”

“Detectives in our Big Sandy Drug Task Force have been working on this case with other agencies since the latter part of 2004,” Smoot said. “The more cases that developed, the larger this investigation grew. Many of these individuals are connected to an ongoing federal investigation by the Kentucky State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration.”

A law enforcement round-up of the UNITE suspects was held Thursday, November 8, in Floyd and Johnson counties.

“Thursday’s enforcement effort will not be the last,” Smoot said. “We expect additional arrests in other counties in the near future.”

UNITE’s cases primarily involved individuals who were obtaining drugs for their own use, noted Iain Dalrymple, manager of the Big Sandy Drug Task Force.

“Our investigation identified approximately 180 people from five counties -- Floyd, Knott, Johnson, Martin and Pike -- who were traveling to either Philadelphia or Ohio for a doctor’s visit,” Dalrymple said. “While there is nothing illegal about seeing an out-of-state doctor, those we’re arresting today would return to Kentucky and visit a local doctor with the same complaints and receive prescriptions for additional pills.”

“Doctors here in Kentucky were actually the victims because they didn’t know these people were seeing another doctor,” Dalrymple said. “These individuals were obtaining between 80 and 200 pills each month.”

Prescriptions for Hydrocodone and Methadone were the most common, although Valium and Xanax pills were also obtained, Smoot said. “More than 50,000 Methadone tablets alone ended up in Eastern Kentucky from Philadelphia.”

Assisting UNITE detectives Thursday were law enforcement officers from the Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, Prestonsburg Police Department, City of Martin Police Department, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Paintsville Police Department and Kentucky Bureau of Investigation.

As of 3:30 p.m. 18 people had been arrested, including two fugitives from previous roundups, and lodged in either the Floyd County or Johnson County detention centers. They are:

• Bennett Blankenship, age 45, Highway 3380, Teaberry (Floyd County), 2 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Eugene Caudill, age 43, Jacks Creek, Bypro (Floyd County), 8 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Alta Chapman, age 50, Cow Hollow, Drift (Floyd County), 4 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Wayne Collins, age 54, Route 550, Eastern (Floyd County), 1 count unauthorized procurement.

• Larry Goble, age 53, Corn Fork, Prestonsburg (Floyd County), 3 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Jeanette Hoover, age 48, Chaffins Branch, Garrett (Floyd County), 2 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Patsy Hoover, age 35, Goose Creek Road, Eastern (Floyd County), 1 count unauthorized procurement.

• Joey Luster, age 33, Poplar Street, Harold (Floyd County), 3 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Ervin Marsillet Jr., age 57, Otis Hays Branch, Flat Gap (Johnson County), 1 count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and 3 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Jim Marsillett III, age 32, Otis Hays Branch, Flat Gap (Johnson County), 1 count unauthorized procurement.

• Frank Newsome, age 46, Mayo Court, Prestonsburg (Floyd County), 2 counts unauthorized procurement.

• James Osborne, age 43, Highland Avenue, Prestonsburg (Floyd County), 13 counts unauthorized procurement.

• David Ousley, age 42, Pineview Motor Court, Paintsville (Floyd County), 8 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Tracy Patrick, age 36, Floyd County Detention Center, 4 counts unauthorized procurement.

• Gary Slone, age 55, Dotson Lane, Prestonsburg (Floyd County), 1 count unauthorized procurement.

• Michael Turner, age 54, Cow Hollow, Drift (Floyd County), 1 count unauthorized procurement.

Fugitives

• Kevin Coburn, age 23, Caney Fork Road, Martin (Floyd County), 1 count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Douglas Thomas, age 29, Lackey (Floyd County), 1 count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at www.operationunite.org.


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