CUMBERLAND - Two people suspected of stealing prescription pills with a street value of approximately one-half million dollars were arrested Tuesday, September 18, by Operation UNITE.
Detectives charged 32-year-old William Scott Stacey and his wife, 26-year-old Stacy Stacey, with one count of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. Additional charges are expected once the case has been presented to the Grand Jury.
"We believe this couple is responsible for removing at least 50,000 Hydrocodone pills from Cumberland Pharmacy during the past two years," said Dan Smoot, UNITE's law enforcement director. "This is a tremendous amount of drugs being diverted to illegal purposes."
William Stacey worked for his father, Rodney Stacey, as a pharmacy technician, Smoot said. "He had been stealing approximately 2,000 pills per month. Some were for personal use; most were sold in the Tri-Cities area by his wife."
"At this time we do not believe that Pharmacist Rodney Stacey was participating in the illegal activity being conducted by his son and daughter-in-law," Smoot said. "He has fully cooperated with our investigation."
UNITE detectives became aware of the possible drug diversion approximately seven months ago while they were conducting a separate doctor-shopping investigation.
Using the KASPER (Kentucky All-Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting) system operated by the Office of the Inspector General in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, UNITE detectives discovered that the prescriptions were supposedly being filled at Cumberland Pharmacy.
"The detectives then went to the doctor listed on the report, and he stated that the prescriptions were not valid," said Chris Johnson, pharmacist consultant with the Drug Enforcement and Professional Practices Branch within the Inspector General's office. "They then reviewed pharmacy records to account for the dispensing of the drugs as indicated by KASPER, but could not find these prescription records on file."
"This leads me to suspect that someone unlawfully entered data for a false prescription to justify the dispensed controlled substances," Johnson said.
Smoot said UNITE detectives, along with the Office of the Inspector General and other agencies, will attempt to determine who is responsible for the falsified records.
On Tuesday, detectives went to the pharmacy and confronted William Stacey. They also seized two years of pharmacy records which will be reviewed by state and federal agencies.
A subsequent search of William and Stacy's home, located on Fourth Avenue in Cumberland, resulted in the discovery of more than 1,200 pills - 995 Hydrocodone, 224 Xanax, 34 Tylenol 3 with Codeine, and 1.5 Percocet - along with eight empty stock pharmacy bottles that at one time contained 500 tablets each.
Following their arrests, William and Stacy were lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center.
UNITE was assisted by Johnson and officers from the Cumberland Police Department, Lynch Police Department, Benham Police Department. Members of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration have been contacted for assistance in the on-going investigation.
For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at www.operationunite.org
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In 2003, Fifth District Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers (R-Somerset) worked to create Operation UNITE, a regional anti-drug initiative empowering citizens groups and community leaders in 29 southern and eastern Kentucky counties. UNITE, which stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education, seeks to fight the drug epidemic by expanding drug awareness and education programs to keep people from using drugs; coordinating drug treatment and outreach programs for those who are already addicted; and operating regional undercover law enforcement task forces for interdiction and prosecution of those dealing drugs. Rogers has directed $33.1 million in federal funds to the counter-drug initiative over the past four years. For more information contact Karen Engle toll-free at 1-866-678-6483.
Drug Tip Hotline - 1-866-424-4382 / Treatment Referral Hotline - 1-866-90-UNITE (1-866-908-6483)