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25 charged in Kannapolis drug bust Year-long undercover operation targeted illegal sales of prescription drugs

KANNAPOLIS — Early-morning raids by Kannapolis Police resulted in 19 arrests Saturday on charges related to illegal sales of prescription drugs — the results of a year-long undercover narcotics operation.
The coordinated operation began after 7 a.m. Saturday. In all, the suspects involved are charged with 73 violations of drug laws.
Raids on locations in Kannapolis and Rowan County were conducted by 17 Kannapolis Police Dept. officers.
They were assisted by two Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies from that department’s ACE Team.
Kannapolis Police Chief Woody Chavis said 19 suspects were arrested Saturday morning.
Two people already in custody in Rowan and Cabarrus county detention centers face additional charges.
And one more suspect turned herself in to Kannapolis Police early Saturday afternoon.
Three suspects remained at large as of Saturday afternoon:
• Kenneth Mitchell Duttry, of Winona Avenue, Kannapolis, charged with two counts of possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II substance.
• William Henry Pressley, Jr., of Pethel Road, China Grove, charged with trafficking by sale, trafficking by delivery and trafficking by possession.
• Derek Shane Sawyer, of Feather Street, Concord, charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II narcotic and selling a Schedule II narcotic.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these suspects is asked to call Kannapolis Police at 704-920-4000.
Those with information can also call Cabarrus Area Crime Stoppers at 704-93-CRIME or go to www.cabarruscrimestoppers.com.
Sergeant Joe Yurco of the Kannapolis Police Vice and Narcotics Division said the year-long operation involved undercover operations to locate people believed to be illegally selling prescription drugs.
The majority of drugs involved are prescription pain medications, including Vicodin, Lortab and OxyContin, among others, Yurco said.
In some cases, Yurco said, suspects are charged with stealing others’ prescription medicine.
“Some of them are coming from their relatives,” Chavis said. “Some are stealing out of medicine cabinets, from people who really need (medication).”
Others allegedly resold their own prescription medications or engaged in so-called “doctor shopping” to get more pills for sale, Yurco said.
No doctors or healthcare workers were involved in Saturday’s operation, Yurco said.
Chavis said he wasn’t aware of any drugs seized during Saturday’s operation.
The temptation is great, Chavis said, because the street price for prescription drugs is much higher than the amount of some patients’ insurance copayments.
Yurco said in some cases, elderly or disabled patients may try to sell prescription pills to supplement their income.
Federal law prohibits reselling prescription medications, or giving them to anyone other than the person for whom they were prescribed.
“We want everyone to realize that regardless of race, age, et cetera, we’re looking at everybody that is selling prescription drugs,” Yurco said.
No matter the reasons why those sales are happening, Chavis dismissed the notion that selling prescription medication is a “victimless crime.”
Three of those arrested Saturday are charged with possessing or selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.
A fourth was also charged with cocaine possession, in addition to allegedly selling Schedule II drugs.
“You’re not only dealing with a crowd that’s buying pills, but a crowd that’s using illegal narcotics,” Yurco said.
He said it’s not uncommon for heroin addicts and other drug users to turn to pain pills when they can’t get their drug of choice.
“People who are trying to sell their medications run the risk of being robbed for their money and pills,” Yurco said.
Also, Chavis said, people who take prescription opiates and drive while under the influence put others in danger.
“Prescription medication diversion is the number-one drug problem in the United States,” Yurco said.
And with pain medicines like hydrocodone so easy for some to obtain, Yurco said, “the draw is just too much” for some who are tempted to sell.
Yurco said Saturday’s operation took place without incident.
Chavis said he was grateful to Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies for their assistance in arresting suspects who live outside the city.
Yurco said that Kannapolis Police are continuing to investigate reports of illegal prescription drug sales and did not rule out the possibility of more arrests.
He said those who take prescription pain medicines should keep those drugs secure and track them.
Yurco also said that anyone who has unwanted or out-of-date prescription medication can drop it off at the Kannapolis Police Dept. on South Main Street for proper disposal.
Anyone with information on illegal drug sales in the city is asked to call Kannapolis Police or Cabarrus Area Crime Stoppers.

Here’s the list of those charged:
A total of 25 face charges following a year-long undercover operation by Kannapolis Police targeting illegal prescription drug sales.
Anyone with information on illegal prescription drug sales is asked to call Kannapolis Police at 704-920-4000 or Cabarrus Area Crime Stoppers at 704-93-CRIME.
• Kenneth Mitchell Duttry, of Winona Avenue, Kannapolis, charged with two counts of possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II substance.
• William Henry Pressley, Jr., of Pethel Road, China Grove, charged with trafficking by sale, trafficking by delivery and trafficking by possession.
• Derek Shane Sawyer, of Feather Street, Concord, charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II narcotic and selling a Schedule II narcotic.
• Jason Scott Barbee, of Winona Avenue, Kannapolis: selling Schedule II drug and MSDP within 1000 ft. of a school.
• Joseph Aaron Broome, of Central Drive, Kannapolis: selling Schedule II drug, possession of cocaine, maintaining a dwelling and possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Joseph Michael Fisher, Jr., of Townview Drive, Kannapolis, simple possession of Schedule II narcotic.
• Susan Renee Newton, of Dingler Avenue, Mooresville: trafficking by possession, trafficking by transport, trafficking by sale and trafficking by delivery.
• Amy Kirk Issacs, of Central Drive, Kannapolis: selling schedule II, selling Schedule III and two charges of MSDP within 1,000 ft. of a school.
• Reba Sue Cochran, of Peachtree Drive, Kannapolis: possession with intent to sell or distribute Schedule III and selling a Schedule III drug.
• Katlyn Dawn Weddington, of Peachtree Drive, Kannapolis: possession with intent to sell or distribute Schedule III drug and delivering a Schedule III drug.
• Jason Lee Thomasee, of Brookdale Street, Kannapolis: trafficking by possession, trafficking by sale, trafficking by delivery and MSDP within 1,000 ft. of a school.
• Summer Marie Starnes Thomasee, of Brookdale Street, Kannapolis: trafficking by transportation, trafficking by sale, trafficking by delivery, conspiracy to traffic opiates and trafficking opiates.
• Erick Shannon Myers, of Dakota Street, Kannapolis: possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II drug and selling a Schedule II drug.
• Christopher Lee Tucker, of Corriher Street, Kannapolis: two counts of trafficking by possession.
• Geraldine Chapman Powell, of Columbus Street, China Grove: conspiracy to sell a Schedule II drug.
• Eddie Ray Smith, Jr., of Robin Avenue, Kannapolis: possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II drug and selling a Schedule II drug.
• Kristen Deann Schmitz, of Robin Avenue, Kannapolis: possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II drug and selling a Schedule II drug.
• Zachary Allen Clinkscales, of Maplewood Avenue, Kannapolis: possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II drug and selling a Schedule II drug.
• Robin Shane Baker, of Carlton Avenue, Kannapolis: trafficking by possession and possession of a Schedule IV drug.
• Donna Lisenby Bradley, of East 13th Street, Kannapolis: three counts of possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II drug.
• Carl Edward Platt, of Lane Street, Kannapolis: 10 total counts including trafficking by sale, trafficking by delivery, trafficking by possession and possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule II drug and selling a Schedule II drug.
• Crystal Renee Blackwelder, of Central Drive, Kannapolis: selling a Schedule 2 drug and MSDP within 1,000 ft. of a school.
• Kimberly Blendina Rose, of Westside Circle, China Grove: trafficking by sale, trafficking by possession and two counts of trafficking by delivery.
• Bridget Blakenship Mounts, of Miller Road, Salisbury: trafficking by sale, trafficking opiates by possession and two counts of trafficking by delivery.
• Cheryl DeSantis, of Coopers Ridge Drive, Kannapolis: simple possession of Schedule III drug.

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