DRUG INDICTMENTS TIED TO OPANA EPIDEMIC IN SOUTHERN INDIANA ANNOUNCED
–The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chicago Field Division announced that ten individuals were indicted this week and arrested today on drug charges including conspiracy to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance. These indictments and arrests were a result of a collaborative effort between federal, state and local law enforcement in the fight to help reduce prescription and illegal drug abuse and respond to a recent HIV epidemic in Scott and Clark County, Indiana.
In April of 2015, the DEA Indianapolis District Office became aware of an outbreak of HIV cases, due in part to intravenous drug use occurring in rural Scott County and Clark County, Indiana. The abuse of heroin, Opana, other opioid prescription pills, and methamphetamine is dramatically on the rise and has caused a public health crisis. One of the primary reasons for the increase in HIV, is the abuse of these drugs by injection with dirty needles. Typically Scott County would report less than ten cases of HIV annually but in the last 13 months has reported 188 cases. In April 2015, Scott County implemented a needle exchange as one means of slowing the spread of HIV.
In June 2015, due to the need for a multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency response to address the burgeoning HIV and Opana problem, agents from the DEA in Indianapolis built a coalition and began working with the Indiana State Police and Scott County law enforcement officials to determine the source of the powerful prescription painkiller Opana (oxymorphone) and methamphetamine which were prevalent in Austin, Indiana, and other parts of Scott County.
In addition to the combined criminal enforcement effort, the DEA Indianapolis District Office began looking at this case with a three-pronged approach which included enforcement, diversion control and community outreach. Arresting individuals is a first step, but follow-up is equally important. DEA also took steps to identify those who might be responsible for excessive writing or filling opiate based prescription medications. Further, DEA provided community outreach to pharmacy employees by educating them on their pharmacy liability and what combinations of controlled substances may be used illegally on the street and raise suspicion to pharmacists.
Investigators quickly determined that Bennito L. Rodriguez and his wife Brooklynn G. Mack both of Scottsburg, orchestrated the supply of Opana and methamphetamine for redistribution into the Scott community. Through various investigative techniques law enforcement officials determined that Rodriguez and Mack would obtain their supply of methamphetamine and Opana from sources in Louisville, Kentucky, Indianapolis and Detroit, Michigan. The two then organized a redistribution network using other members of the conspiracy to sell the drugs in Scott County. A total of ten individuals were indicted.
Bennito L Rodriguez, a/k/a Benny, 38, Scottsburg, IN.
Brooklynn G. Mack, 29, Scottsburg, IN.
Rashawn A. Vaughn, a/k/a Ray, 41, Louisville, KY.
Eric L. Gude, 36, a/k/a Bubba, Indianapolis
Rashaan S. Perkins, a/k/a Phil, a/k/a D, 21, Detroit, MI.
James D. Haney, 56, Austin, IN.
Justin M. Roberts, a/k/a Booger, 38, Austin, IN.
Travis D. Brock, 34, Scottsburg, IN.
Michael A. Doyle, 38, Scottsburg, IN.
"Scott County is one of the many great communities in our nation that is experiencing the pharmaceutical drug and methamphetamine epidemic that is turning Americans into drug addicts,” said DEA Associate Special Agent in Charge Karen I. Flowers. “DEA will always stand with our local and state partners to fight this epidemic. Today’s work is the beginning of a safer, stronger and healthier Scott County.”
“Scott County has been plagued with prescription drug abuse for many years and authorities there asked for federal assistance with their problem” said Josh Minkler, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “We were happy to assist but it is not a problem which can be cured overnight and requires a comprehensive approach. Arresting drug dealers and reducing the flow of illegal drugs into Scott County is a start but only one aspect of the bigger solution.”
Scott County Sheriff Dan McClain said, “I am grateful for the participation of our state and federal partners in this operation. This should be an indication to drug dealers throughout the county that our law enforcement agencies are working together to get drugs off our streets.”
"The DEA and the US Attorney have tools in their toolbox that are not available in state prosecutions, which make these types of outcomes difficult for us to pursue with local resources alone,” said Scott County Prosecutor, Jason Mount. “As one can see, these investigations can be long-term and intensive. We appreciate their joint efforts in this matter, and look forward to continuing to work together in both federal and state prosecutions."
“For those that are addicted, we want to point them to the services they need to end their addiction,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. “But for those who are trafficking and profiting from those suffering the misery of addiction, we will work tirelessly with our local and federal partners to put them in prison for a long, long time.
In June 2015, the coalition arrested five individuals; seized numerous controlled substances, including opana, oxycodone and alprazolam, over 1 ½ pounds of methamphetamine, two handguns, an AK 47 Assault Rifle, approximately $32,000 United States Currency (USC) and two vehicles relating to this investigation.
This case was jointly investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration offices from Indianapolis, Louisville, Detroit, and Atlanta, Scott and Clark County, Indiana Prosecutor’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U. S. Postal Inspection Service, United States Marshal’s Service, Indiana State Police, and the Sheriff’s Department of Hendricks and Scott County, Indiana.
The defendants in this investigation face decades in prison if convicted.