The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 11, 2013

8 from Beckley area arrested for oxycodone fraud, distribution

The Beckley Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration Tactical Diversion Squad arrested eight people from the Beckley area Tuesday for obtaining controlled substances by fraud and the distribution of these controlled substances.

A press release from BPD reports that Beckley Detective Sgt. J.L. McDaniel, a Task Force Officer with the DEA, received a complaint from a local pharmacy referencing a possible forged prescription. McDaniel followed up and uncovered a prescription fraud ring that involved several subjects.

The crime started with a receptionist that worked for a Beckley doctor who stole blank prescriptions from the office. The receptionist wrote these prescriptions for oxycodone pills and forged the doctor’s name. These fraudulent prescriptions were given to conspiring subjects to be filled.

Once the prescriptions were filled, the receptionist would receive a portion of the pills or the proceeds from selling the pills. The remaining pills would be abused or sold by the conspirators. In total, this crime netted the group over 2,000 oxycodone pills that were obtained by fraudulent means.

Federal arrest warrants were obtained Tuesday and eight of the suspects were taken into custody with one arrest still outstanding.

Arrested and charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (oxycodone) and distribution of a controlled substance (oxycodone) were Tina Richmond, 41, of Beckley; Brianna Wood,18, of Sophia; Curtis Sears, 21, of Crab Orchard; Sherry Lively, 46, of MacArthur; Robert Sears, 21, of MacArthur; Justin Woodie, 22, of Crab Orchard; Stephen Hatcher, 35 of Beckley.

Jeremy Blankenship of Crab Orchard, was charged with attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud (oxycodone).

The name of the outstanding suspect is not being released at this time.

The arrests of these eight suspects were made with the assistance of the United States Marshal Service Fugitive Task Force.

The Drug Enforcement Administration Charleston West Virginia Tactical Diversion Squad investigates the diversion of pharmaceuticals from the legitimate market. The team is specially funded by the Diversion Control Fee Account and its charter is restricted only to investigations related to diversion activities.

The TDS investigates the full spectrum of diversion violators, to include drug trafficking organizations, rogue doctors/pharmacists/nurses, medical staff, distributors, manufacturers, retail outlets, and anyone else involved with illegal diversion.

The TDS has the ability to bring criminal, civil and regulatory charges against violators. The Charleston TDS is responsible for covering the entire state of West Virginia. The Beckley Police Department has been a member of the DEA TDS since its beginning in 2012 and has one officer assigned to the task force full time.

Controlled substances such as oxycodone are still an epidemic to our area, according to BPD Chief Tim Deems. To fight this drug and its effects on our community, we need the public to report these crimes.

You can report these crimes to the Beckley Police Department at 304-256-1844. You can report criminal activity and remain anonymous. You can also report drug crimes to the DEA at 304-347-5209.