Phony Prescription Drug Scheme Results In 11 Indictments in Bell County

PINEVILLE – An organized scheme to obtain controlled pills through use of fraudulent prescriptions has been broken up following a five-month investigation by Operation UNITE’s Drug Diversion Unit.

Eleven individuals face a total of 365 charges as a result of indictments in either Bell or Knox counties. Six of the suspects were arrested during a roundup conducted Monday, March 12, and four suspects were arrested Wednesday, March 14.

“These individuals illegally obtained more than 11,000 pills as a result of 103 fake prescriptions,” said UNITE Detective William “Bo” Harris, the lead investigator. “If all these pills were sold at the going street value they would have brought nearly $131,000.”

The investigation began after UNITE received a complaint that an employee at a Pineville doctor’s office -- 40-year-old Donna Yager-Lawson -- was calling in unauthorized prescriptions for family members and friends.

“None of these individuals were patients of the doctors for whom Donna worked,” Harris said.

The way the scheme worked, these family members and friends would contact 57-year-old Naomi Mullins, a friend, with the type and amount of pills wanted. Mullins would then notify Yeager-Lawson who called in the prescriptions to numerous pharmacies through Bell and Knox counties.

“Generally they would receive between 30 and 60 pills at a time on a monthly basis,” Harris said. “They would get these drugs and then sell them on the street. Proceeds would be turned back to Naomi, who would pay Donna for calling in the prescription.”

Detectives utilized the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system to help track down the prescriptions. In all, phony prescriptions were used to obtain 6,280 Hydrocodone pills and 5,180 Xanax pills.

Harris said the doctors were apparently unaware of the scheme and helped detectives throughout the investigation.

Bell County Sheriff Bruce Bennett and Kentucky State Police Trooper Tyson Lawson from the Harlan Post assisted in making the arrests.

Still wanted by police is 40-year-old Audrey Mullins of Exeter Avenue in Middlesboro, who faces two counts of engaging in organized crime, four counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, and five counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Those arrested this week were:

• Angela Brock, age 43, of Laurel Hills, Pineville, two counts of engaging in organized crime, 11 counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, nine counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and three counts of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Melinda Brock, age 21, of Laurel Hills, Pineville, two counts of engaging in organized crime, five counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, four counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and two counts of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Itena “Tina” Griffin, age 42, of Cumberland Avenue, Middlesboro, two counts of engaging in organized crime, five counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, seven counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and one count of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Lindsay Griffin, age 19, of Cumberland Avenue, Middlesboro, two counts of engaging in organized crime, three counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, two counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and one count of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Millard Jackson, age 53, of Exeter Avenue, Middlesboro, one count of engaging in organized crime, eight counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, and nine counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Donna Yager-Lawson, age 40, of Duck Creek, Sneedville, Tennessee, two counts of engaging in organized crime, 71 counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, 61 counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and 10 counts of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Jody Mullins, age 39, of Exeter Avenue, Middlesboro, one count of engaging in organized crime, eight counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, and nine counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Naomi Mullins, age 57, of Exeter Avenue, Middlesboro, two counts of engaging in organized crime, 36 counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, 34 counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and three counts of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Earl O’Hara, age 42, of 27th Street, Middlesboro, two counts of engaging in organized crime, four counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, four counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and one count of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Joseph Wilson, age 22, of Exeter Avenue, Middlesboro, two counts of engaging in organized crime, 12 counts of unauthorized procurement of a controlled substance, 11 counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and two counts of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

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


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