Two South Florida residents allegedly helped funnel 20,000 or more prescription pills to an Owsley County drug ring in April and May, according to federal court documents.
George Darden, 44, and Elisa H. Alston, 40, are charged in federal court in Kentucky with conspiracy to distribute pills in Owsley County, court records show.
Donald W. Terry, an Owsley County man charged in the case, told authorities he met Alston in the Miami area seven or eight times in April and May and she sold him 2,000 to 3,000 oxycodone pain pills each time to bring back to Kentucky.
Terry, Thomas Little and Kristi Rae Davis made trips to Florida to get pills for Marvin and Jason Todd Reed, according to allegations in court documents.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
"They were going and coming back as fast as they could, within reason," Jerell Hughes Jr., a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in London, said at a recent court hearing.
A federal grand jury issued an indictment Thursday charging the seven with conspiring to distribute pain pills in Owsley County.
Each of the seven faces up to 20 years if convicted, or 30 years for those who have a prior felony drug conviction. The Owsley County residents have pleaded not guilty.
The alleged conspiracy unraveled after Georgia police stopped Little and Davis on Interstate 95, near Brunswick, on May 15 and found 3,278 oxycodone pills in Little's Dodge pickup, according to court records.
Little told authorities he was taking the pills to the Reeds in Booneville, who together had provided $45,000 to buy the drugs, according to an affidavit in the court file.
Little agreed to cooperate with police. Federal agents arrested the Reeds on May 17 when they came to pick up the pills, according to the court file.
Terry called Alston to warn her Little was helping police, but Little convinced her Terry was lying, Richard Dalrymple, a federal drug task-force officer, said in an affidavit.
Hughes, the DEA agent, posed as Little's son and talked by telephone with Alston, arranging to meet her at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Miami Gardens on June 1 to buy 5,000 pain pills and 2,000 Xanax pills, according to a court document.
Alston came to the meeting with Darden, whom she described as the source of the pills, Dalrymple said in his statement.
After Hughes saw the pills and signaled other agents to move in and arrest Alston and Darden, Alston tried to drive away. She rammed a police vehicle before agents were able to arrest her and Darden, according to the statement.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram has ordered Marvin and Jason Reed and Terry detained until trial, citing the danger that they would continue to engage in drug trafficking if released.
Hughes testified at Marvin Reed's detention hearing that Reed also had been investigated in a marijuana conspiracy in Lexington, according to a court document.
Hughes also said a DEA agent investigating another marijuana conspiracy told him Reed was feared because he allegedly killed someone for another drug dealer, according to the order detaining Reed.
The case has been high-profile in Owsley County because of the number of pills involved and because Judge-Executive Ronnie DeBord, Magistrate Jesse Bishop Jr. and county Clerk Sid Gabbard signed letters supporting Marvin Reed's request to be released on bond.
The trial is scheduled for August.