Roane County, Tenn. — A Detroit drug trafficking organization was busted in Harriman on Nov. 30.
According to a release from the Roane County Sheriff's Office, the Michigan-based drug trafficking organization had been sending dealers on a rotating basis to the Hillside Apartments on Midtown Lane in Harriman.
Investigators, working with the Harriman Police Department and Kingston Police Department, said the dealers were bringing the prescription pain killer oxymorphone in the form of 40 mg Opana pills, a schedule II controlled substance.
After a few weeks, new dealers are rotated into the apartments and the others go back to Michigan. Up to 40 customers per day have been observed frequenting the apartments to purchase the pills, according to officials. It was an anonymous tip that helped them focus in on the building.
"The public is our eyes and ears, and any time they are concerned about what's going on around them, it makes our job easier and we can pinpoint those locations and concentrate on that area," Sheriff Jack Stockton said.
Investigators said they searched apartments 1 and 2, both of which are controlled by the Michigan-based dealers. Apartment 1 was used to sell the pills while it is believed that apartment 2 was used as a stash location for the drugs, money and other items, according to officials.
Three loaded handguns, 31 Opana pills and approximately $10,000 in cash were found in the apartments, according to investigators.
Two Detroit men, 38-year-old Dontae Martez Register and 40-year-old Julius Randy Jackson, inside the apartments were arrested. Both were charged with possession of a scheduled II controlled substance with intent to sell and possession of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, according to officials.
Stockton said it's rare for a rural county to have an out-of-state arrest like this.
Register was also charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun as records indicate that he has felony convictions from Michigan, according to investigators.
The bust was a challenge to plan due to the sophistication of the setup, and technology.
"What they were doing is calling the deal up on their phone, ordering drugs, then coming here and picking drugs up," Sheriff Stockton explained. "They had it pre-ordered before they came so they were in and out pretty quick."
While conducting the search of both apartments, customers came to the location attempting to buy drugs from law enforcement officers. Those subjects were charged with misdemeanor charges and taken to the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, according to officials.
The FBI Rocky Top Task Force, made up of officers from the Knoxville Police Department, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Kingston Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Office and Roane County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the raid and arrests. Agents and officers of the TBI, 9th Drug Task Force, and Rockwood Police Department also assisted in the operation.
Drug-related crime is all too common in the county, but they are taking this mission as one small positive victory in putting an end to the epidemic.
"It breaks families up, relationships, causes poverty to the children who are a victim of the crime, and puts stress on them in particular," Sheriff Stockton said.
"They are taking money from people with the habit and taking advantage of their situation, we want to put a stop to it."