DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Nearly 30 people are in custody and charged with drug trafficking after a DeKalb County Drug Task Force warrant round-up.
Sheriff Jimmy Harris said the investigation began seven or eight months ago, and investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Fort Payne Police Department, and DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office began planning the round-up several weeks ago.
They began with a list of 32 people, and taped pictures of the suspects’ faces on a wall at the Sheriff’s Office, which Harris referred to as his “Wall of Shame.”
In a 24 hour span, 27 of the faces had “CAPTURED” cards stuck across them.
“We’re continuing to work on that. We’ve been successful because of the help of the people that have called us and give us the names and trust us,” Sheriff Harris said.
“I want to encourage people to keep calling us. We’re going to work on it and if there’s a way we can make an arrest, we’re going to try to stop this.”
Harris said the investigation started last year with calls complaining about prescription pill trafficking. He said about half of the people arrested are likely involved in burglaries of drugs from homes, but investigators traced many of them to out of state pain clinics.
“They’ll get Oxycontin, Lortabs, certain drugs that people like. They’ll go buy those in 150 count and go out and sell them out for $10-20 apiece to the public. We really worked on that for the last several months on trying to target the people that have been selling those.”
Harris said this trafficking is primarily pain pills, which is a departure from the problems law enforcement faced dealing with pseudo-ephedrine trafficking to manufacture meth.
“People are still doing their meth, they’re still importing it from Mexico and everywhere else but prescription pills seems to be the big thing now because everybody’s got that in their medicine cabinet,” Sheriff Harris said.
Charges include unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, distribution of a controlled substance, and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. Harris said some of the 27 people arrested in the drug round-up are charged with illegally selling spice.
The names listed below face at least one charge, and several face multiple charges:
Samuel Salizan Rivera, William James McElrath, Wendy Gorham, Robert Chad Hall, Nikki Nicole Richter, Michael Eric Kelley, Kathy Gass Clure, Jared Farmer, Lewis Ramsey, Jennifer Suzanne Harris, Michael Shane Dunn, Melissa Sue Lancaster, Stuart Kennedy, Demetrius Jermaine Neal, Staci Stiefel, Ricky Brian Phillips, Kimberly Denise Anderson, Gloria Jean Patterson, Kelli Marie McManus, Christy Hudgens Taylor, Don Wayne Mitchell, Darak Heath Dean, Patrick Lee Rogers, Mark Allen Norris, Judy Lee Slaton, Tommy Dustin Burt, and Jennifer Waldrop.