October 23, 2014
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
33 Defendants Charged In Oxycodone Conspiracy
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Drug Enforcement (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Downing and Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced the arraignment of 27 defendants in a 78-count indictment charging 33 defendants with prescription drug charges. One defendant, Timmy Larvale McCain, 38, of Little Rock, was also charged with a weapons charge.
“The abuse of prescription drugs, such as oxycodone, is a serious problem in our communities. All too often, this abuse leads to addiction, shattered lives, and even death. For the health and safety of our citizens, DEA and our local law enforcement partners will continue to target those who illegally obtain and distribute these potentially dangerous drugs. We hope that the arrests in this case serve as a reminder to anyone who might illegally divert pharmaceuticals that they will be held accountable for the harm they cause,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Downing.
“According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, non-medical use of prescription drugs is higher than abuse of cocaine, heroin and hallucinogens combined,” stated Thyer. “Just because oxycodone is prescribed medically, doesn’t make it a safe drug to abuse. Arkansas has consistently ranked among the top 10 states with the highest rate of non-medical use of pain relievers by 12-25 year olds since state estimates first began in 2002. My office is committed to support the work of DEA and other law enforcement partners by prosecuting those who set-up and run illegal pill distribution networks. This 78-count indictment against distributors in a Little Rock-based network demonstrates that commitment.”
Thirty-one of the 33 defendants have been arraigned this week. Twenty-seven were arraigned today by United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray after being issued summonses and arrest warrants. These defendants have been released from federal custody. Four other defendants -- Charolda Walton, 41; Felicia Holmes, 51; William James Johnson, 31; and Timmy Larvale McCain, 38, all of Little Rock -- were arrested in an early-morning operation on Monday. Those four have since been released on bond with special conditions of release. Michael Carrier will be arraigned November 20, 2014. One defendant has not yet been located and served with an arrest warrant.
The DEA investigation, which began in 2013, used multiple undercover operations and numerous other law enforcement actions. Charolda Walton was determined to be a primary distributor of these pills, and operated out of her home in Little Rock.
Working with the Little Rock Police Department and the Saline County Sheriff’s Office, the DEA made 22 controlled purchases of Schedule II narcotics in this case, including oxycodone, morphine, and hydromorphone. All told, in this investigation the DEA purchased or seized approximately 2,230 oxycodone 30 mg pills. In this organization these pills were being sold for anywhere for $22 to $28 per pill, giving these pills a street value of approximately $49,060-$62,440. In addition, agents seized 22 morphine pills, 178 hydromorphone pills, more than $21,000 in suspected drug proceeds, and five vehicles.
The indictment charges 33 defendants in 78 separate counts stemming from a large-scale investigation into prescription pill trafficking in central Arkansas. The indictment was handed down by a Federal Grand Jury on October 7, 2014. The indictment was unsealed by the court on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. The counts include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, distribution of oxycodone and morphine, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and hydromorphone, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and the use of telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime. If convicted of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone each defendant will face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA, with assistance from the Little Rock Police Department, the Benton Police Department, and the Saline County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Chris Givens and Alex Morgan.
An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.