Shoplifting probe leads to drug charges

Jeff Bobo • Oct 8, 2012 at 10:52 AM

CHURCH HILL — Hawkins County deputies arrested a shoplifting suspect and his female companion Sunday evening after a newly filled prescription bottle for 90 Alprazolam pills was found to contain only three.

The female suspect, Belva Jane Shanks, 30, 3467 Gravely Valley Road, Surgoinsville, allegedly admitted that she and Joshua Clifford Oliver, 28, 115 Deer Heart Road, Blountville, had sold the pills because they “needed the money.”

Around 5 p.m. Saturday, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kenny Lunsford Jr. was dispatched to a shoplifting complaint at the Whistle Stop Market on Carters Valley Road near Church Hill.

A witness said he knew the suspect, Oliver, and observed Oliver leave as a passenger in a red Mitsubishi. While Lunsford was taking a report from the witness, that same red Mitsubishi entered the market parking lot, and Oliver got out of the vehicle. As Lunsford approached the vehicle, Oliver reportedly emptied his pockets and handed the contents including a pill bottle to Shanks, the driver.

Lunsford said Oliver appeared under the influence, and for his safety he conducted a pat down.

Lunsford asked to see the pill bottle, and Shanks handed it over. The prescription was in Shanks’ name and had been filled that day for 90 Alprazolam, but the bottle contained only three pills.

When Lunsford asked Shanks what happened to the rest of the pills she allegedly replied, “I’m not going to lie. We sold them. I just needed the money.”

Lunsford added, “Shanks stated they had been driving around selling the pills she received today.”

The couple were then arrested. During a search of the vehicle, Lunsford allegedly found a syringe under the passenger seat.

Oliver was asked if he had any other drugs in his possession, and he said no. While being strip searched at the jail a blue oval pill believed to be Alprazolam was allegedly found in Oliver’s underwear.

Oliver was charged with two counts of shoplifting, possession of Schedule IV narcotics for resale, public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia, and introduction of drugs into a penal institution. As of Monday, he remained held in the Hawkins County jail on $15,000 bond with an arraignment date still to be set.

Shanks was charged with possession of Schedule IV narcotics for resale and released on bond with an arraignment date still to be set.

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