Drugs seized

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 19, 2001

BCSO records first Oxycontin case

A drug that has been plaguing the nation since 1996, Oxycontin, a prescribed narcotic pain-reliever, has made its way to Butler County.

The Butler County Sheriff's Office has been aware of the drug, and through developing intelligence, has recorded the county's first arrest for distribution of the drug.

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"After eight months of work, we were able to make an arrest involving Oxycontin distribution," said Sheriff Diane Harris.

"We learned that the drug was being sold in Butler County," said Chief Deputy Kenny Harden. "And after a lot of work, we were able to make a controlled buy this week."

Deputies on Wednesday arrested Dallas Tracey Odom, 43, of 806 Whatley St., Andalusia.

"We set up a buy where we were able to purchase 15 pills from Odom at $20 each," said Harden. "When we took him into custody, he also had more of the drug in his possession."

Harris said the mark-up on the drug is tremendous, considering its value when purchased legally.

"A script for 30 tablets sells for $135 at the drugstores," Harris said. "While Odom said he sold us the pills at a discounted price, even at that price, it would have been $600 for the same 30

that's a $435 markup."

"We have charged him with possession of a controlled substance, and also distribution of a controlled substance," Harden said. "He is in custody being held on $40,000 bond.

Harden said Odom is facing more serious charges in addition to possession and distribution.

"He faces charges from a higher level of government than county," Harden said. "By his own statement to us, Odom was getting the drug prescribed to him, and filling it on Uncle Sam

he only paid the State co-pay through Medicaid for the medication, and then he sold it for pure profit."

"I contacted the Alabama Medicaid Fraud Agency and they are developing their case against him," Harris said. "According to their agents, Odom faces a separate charge of Medicaid fraud for every time he has purchased the drug on his Medicaid card

he faces a Class C felony charge for each count."

Research on the Internet has shown much literature on the drug and controversy as well.

Several thousand "newsgroup" messages are available from simple search queries from people addicted to Oxycontin. Many of the addicts are comparing the drug to a pill-form of heroin.

In a separate case earlier on Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office conducted a search warrant, producing felony charges and also an arrest.

"At 1:30 Wednesday afternoon, we executed a search warrant on the residence of Lamar Clifton, 40, located at 113 Water Street," said Chief Deputy Kenny Harden. "During the search, we arrested Clifton, charging him with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia."

Harden said the raid came as a result of an ongoing undercover operation conducted by the Sheriff's Office.

"We seized into evidence crack cocaine, marijuana, pipes used to smoke controlled substances, cigarette rolling papers and U.S. currency," Harden said. "We would also like to acknowledge the cooperation of the Greenville Police Department for their assistance, by furnishing an officer to help with the warrant execution."

Harden said Clifton was transported to the Butler County Jail and is being held on a $36,000 property bond.