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Unicoi County business raided in drug bust

By Lyndsey Price, lprice@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 09 2014 04:48:45 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 09 2014 11:46:12 PM CST
unicoi-drug-bust
UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. -

Four people are facing drug charges after deputies say they sold prescription pills to undercover officers.

Unicoi Tire and Brake is now closed after a month-long investigation by the Unicoi County Sheriff's Office led to drug arrests.

"There were a lot of drugs being sold from this location," says Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley.

Hensley tells us undercover deputies started the investigation after receiving reports from members of the community of people, known to use drugs, often coming to and from the shop.

"We've bought several hundred pills: Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, and morphine and that's some of the most potent and dangerous drugs out on the streets today," Hensley told us.

The sheriff also says deputies arrested the store owner, 36-year-old Marcus Ryan Wright, and charged him with maintaining a dwelling where drugs are sold and criminal responsibility for the sale of a schedule II drug.  They also charged 51-year-old Arthur J. Burrell Jr. with sale of schedule II drugs, and 56-year-old Sharon Laws with delivery of schedule II drugs.

"We also were able to intercept another dealer that was on his way here with several pills to sale," added Hensley.   

Sheriff Hensely tells us that person was 81-year-old Lewis Lawrence Wilcox, who is charged with delivery of a schedule III drug.  Hensley tells News 5 they found 90 hydrocodone pills being delivered by Wilcox during the investigation.

Hensely says some of the pills were legally prescribed, but when you start selling them, it's a different story.

"There are a lot of elderly people that will sell their medication just to make ends meet.  They don't think of the bad aspect of it; they're just trying to supplement their income.  It's a bad situation, but it's a dangerous situation." 

Hensley tells us they're cracking down on prescription pill abuse and his department won't tolerate it in Unicoi County.

Sheriff Hensley tells us there were a couple of vehicles being worked on at the shop. He says they are not going to seize any car that belongs to other people, if the vehicles were there being worked on.  If your car was one of them, you can contact the sheriff's office at (423) 743-1850.