According to law enforcement in Alabama, a pharmacy technician has been arrested after a several month long investigation into prescription drug trafficking.
Moundville Police Chief Toby Banks and Hale County District Attorney Michael Jackson said that 30-year-old Dendrea Cenetha Williams has now been charged with drug trafficking in what they call a “widespread prescription drug trafficking syndicate”.
Detectives say that Williams, from Tuscaloosa, was initially just charged with theft and possession of a controlled substance after her employers at KC Drug in Moundville, noticed several discrepancies in the prescription inventory.
Store owner Kim Crews said that after she realized that prescription opioid medication hydrocodone was missing, she contacted the Alabama State Board of Pharmacies and said that the loss was during Williams' control of the counts, according to court and police records.
The owner said that she had installed video surveillance inside the business, which showed Williams concealing bottles in her pants on multiple occasions and then taking them to her vehicle, records state.
Law enforcement then interviewed Williams at which time she admitted to stealing massive quantities of hydrocodone.
Williams gave authorities permission to search her vehicle, which turned up 583 7.5mg hydrocodone tablets worth an estimated $600, and 523 10mg hydrocodone tablets, also worth an estimated $600, which led to the initial charges of theft and possession.
Later, however, Moundville police and the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force which had been monitoring a network of prescription drugs being sold on the streets were notified of the arrest and carried out a search warrant at Williams Greensboro Road apartment.
Amidst that operation, police found thousands of more hydrocodone pills inside of the apartment, according to Tuscaloosa County authorities.
The Moundville Police Chief Banks said that Williams first claimed the pills were for herself, but he said the sheer amount of the medication alongside other local arrests and information obtained during those encounters led them to believe otherwise.
"She said that she was taking about 2,000 pills a month, sometimes more, sometimes less, since she started working there a year ago,'' Chief Banks said.
"If you look at the national news, you see that the prescription drug abuse is an epidemic,'' Banks said. "Any time that many drugs are stolen and distributed on the street, it's a problem."
Police say more charges may come in the future, but that Williams was detained at the Hale County Jail where she is being held on $150,000 bond.
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