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Eighteen Arrested in Taylor County Prescription Drug Trafficking Sweep

 
 Taylor County Sheriffs Office (TCSO) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Tallahassee Regional Operations Center yesterday arrested 18 individuals on charges of prescription drug trafficking. The arrest sweep follows a nine-month joint investigation which targeted illegal pharmaceutical drug sales and distribution in Taylor County.

The investigation began after the TCSO received information about individuals unlawfully selling and distributing pharmaceuticals. Investigators learned that the subjects obtained the drugs by traveling to central Florida and paying doctors to write them prescriptions for painkillers, anti-anxiety medicines and muscle relaxants. Some subjects were prescribed the drugs in unusually large quantities and received prescriptions without an existing medical condition. In other cases, the doctors would provide the subjects with blank prescriptions and allow the subjects to fill in the quantity of the drug themselves. The subjects would then fill the prescriptions at various pharmacies and transport the pills back to Taylor County where they were distributed and sold to others. The prescription drugs unlawfully obtained and sold included Oxycodone, Methadone, Roxicodone, Hydrocodone, Xanax and Soma. Several of the subjects were also selling illicit drugs such as cocaine and marijuana.

“This roundup is a result of hard work and collaboration between law enforcement agencies and I extend my thanks to all those involved,” said Sheriff L.E. “Bummy” Williams. “We know working together is the most effective way to address the problem of prescription drug crimes and stop individuals who profit from unlawfully providing pain pills to others.”

“Prescription drugs are potent and highly addictive and they have no place being sold on the streets,” said FDLE Special Agent in Charge Don Ladner. “Abuse of these substances can have deadly consequences and we will continue to go after those who traffic prescription drugs in our communities.”

The following individuals were arrested and booked into the Taylor County Jail:
  • Robert Whiddon, 47, of Perry, charged with eight counts of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Collis Watson, 42, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of sale of a controlled substance and three counts of sale of cannabis;
  • Dana Watson, 42, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of sale of a controlled substance , one count of sale of cannabis, and one count of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis;
  • Christian Nielson, 30, of Steinhatchee, charged with two counts of sale of a controlled substance and one count of sale of cannabis;
  • Kenneth Shutterly, 52, of Steinhatchee, charged with two counts of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Casey Deller, 22, of Steinhatchee, charged with two counts of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Sheila Dickey, 33, of Steinhatchee, charged with three counts of sale of a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance;
  • Jamie Grissom, 22, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Steven Smith, 38, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Deneise Sadler, 42, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of conspiracy to sell a controlled substance;
  • John Turcer, 30, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Karen Belcher, 46, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of conspiracy to sell a controlled substance and one count of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Ashly Belcher, 24, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of conspiracy to sell a controlled substance and one count of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Dana Hail, 22, of Steinhatchee, charged with three counts of sale of a controlled substance;
  • Bonnie Lashley, 31, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of sale of a controlled substance and one count of delivery of a controlled substance;
  • Sheena Whiddon, 21, of Perry, charged with two counts of the sale of cocaine, sale of marijuana and sale of MDMA;
  • Amanda Jones, 33, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of sale of a controlled substance; and
  • Brian McMillan, 26, of Steinhatchee, charged with one count of sale of a controlled substance.

TCSO and FDLE are continuing the investigation into the doctors and pharmacies involved as well as other individuals trafficking prescription drugs. Additional arrests are expected.

For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Chernosky or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001

Captain Ron Rice
Taylor County Sheriffs Office
(850) 838-3505