Dickenson County Discussion Board Archive

17 named in Tazewell County drug indictments

January 26, 2012
17 named in drug indictments: Richlands suspect indicted on charge of felony homicide

By GREG JORDAN The Bluefield Daily Telegraph Thu Jan 26, 2012, 05:00 AM EST

TAZEWELL, Va. — A felony homicide charge was among the list of drug-related indictments released Wednesday during a press conference with Tazewell County’s law enforcement officials.

Rocky Graham Underwood, 32, of Richlands was indicted on charges of felony homicide and one count of distribution of Oxymorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance. The allegations involve the distribution of the painkiller Opana (Oxymorphone) that resulted in the accidental overdose death of a 26-year-old Richlands woman, Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Lee said. The arrest was made after a lengthy investigation involving the Richlands Police Department, Virginia State Police and the Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office.

Underwood is now being held at the Southwest Regional Jail in Tazewell, Lee said. A conviction for felony murder carries a penalty of up to 40 years in prison.

The death is one of several overdose deaths in recent months involving the narcotic Opana, Lee said.

A total of 17 individuals were indicted on drug-related charges ranging from the distribution of pain medication such as Oxycodone and Morphine to the distribution of marijuana. Additional individuals have yet to be picked up by police, Lee said during a press conference at Tazewell Town Hall.

“The charges, as you can see, run the gamut of various drug offenses. They range from marijuana all the way up to Opana, Oxycodone, Methadone, morphine, methamphetamine,” he said. “In this drug round up there is really no one drug predominating over the other.”

Changes in how one frequently abused pain medication is made has altered the list of drugs law enforcement agencies are seeing.

“In part, I think that has partly to do with the reformulation of the drug Oxycodone, when Perdue Pharma reformulated the drug to make it harder to crush and abuse,” Lee said. “Our drug community sort of branched out at that point and you see these other drugs. You also see an increase in the amount of methamphetamine in the last two years. This has increased dramatically in this area, and that is primarily due to the ‘shake and bake’ method of producing methamphetamine.”

Tazewell County has also seen the use of synthetic drugs that have been called “bath salts,” Lee said.

“We’ve had a couple of cases. It is nothing but a dodge, a scam by irresponsible individuals and/or corporations marketing something that is really a dangerous drug by saying it’s something else,” he said. “It is a very powerful stimulant and hallucinogenic,”

One problem law enforcement encounters is the fact that synthetic drug formulas are sometimes altered to get around legislation, Lee explained.

Richlands Police Chief F.L. Dorton said drugs were the biggest problem his department faced. They contributed to a large percentage of the crimes ranging from breaking and entry to bad checks and domestic violence.

Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt estimated that approximately 90 percent of the crimes his deputies see are related to the drug trade; the crimes are committed by addicts seeking money to pay for their habits

Chief Greg Layne of the Tazewell County Police Department estimated that his department would be much smaller if there were no drug-related crimes.

“One officer could work this town in my opinion,” he said.

The indictments were the result of investigations by town police departments, the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police, and the Tazewell County Drug Task Force.

The following people were indicted on drug-related charges by the January session of the Tazewell County Grand Jury.

• Natasha Nicole Brewster, 26, of Cedar Bluff, Va. Conspiracy to sell or distribute Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance and distribution of Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance

•Richard Anthony Brown, 35, of Doran, Va. Distribution of Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance.

•James Charles Charlton a.k.a. “Shadow,” 50, of Tazewell, Va. Sale or distribution of marijuana.

•James Gary Clark, 57, of Cedar Bluff, Va. Distribution of Morphine, a Schedule II controlled substance (three counts) and criminal solicitation.

• William Calvin Dunford, Jr., 31, of Cedar Bluff, Va. Distribution of Buprenorphine, a Schedule III controlled substance.

•Paul Wesley Dye, 35, of Raven, Va. Possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

•Tiffany Brooke Hall, 22, of North Tazewell, Va. grand larceny.

•James Edward Harmon, 37, of Richlands, Va. Conspiracy to sell or distribute Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance; and distribution of Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance.

•Travis Paul Hurd, 31, of Tazewell, Va. Conspiracy to sell or distribute Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance; and distribution of Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance (two counts).

•Ira Douglas Jackson, Jr., 39, of Richlands, Va. Conspiracy to sell or distribute Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance and distribution of Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance.

•Lori Jane Knuckles, 39, of Raven, Va. Distribution of Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance and distribution of Cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance.

•Michael Keith Mears, 33, of Raven, Va. Distribution of Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, second offense and distribution of Methadone, a Schedule II controlled substance, second offense.

•Joshua Brett Perkins, 21, of Richlands, Va. Distribution of Methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance.

• Marsha Renee Redmond, 33, of Raven, Va. Conspiracy to sell or distribute Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance and distribution of Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance.

•Rocky Graham Underwood, 32, of Richlands, Va. Felony homicide and distribution of Oxymorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance.

•Lawrence Everette Warren, 33, of Tazewell, Va. Distribution of Hydromorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance; attempted distribution of Hydromorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance; and petit larceny (misdemeanor).

•Jess Harper White, 51, of Richlands, Va. Distribution of morphine, a Schedule II controlled substance.

—Contact Greg Jordan at

gjordan@bdtonline.com

Slideshow of the indicted.

http://bdtonline.com/local/x647572317/17-named-in-drug-indictments-Richlands-suspect-indicted-on-charge-of-felony-homicide

 
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