Early Thursday morning, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit observed a white Chevrolet Astro van traveling west on Main Street, near the Route 70-N intersection.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said narcotics officers observed the van being driven in an erratic manner, crossing the center divider line numerous times.
A traffic stop was conducted on the van, at which time the driver was identified as James Michael “Mike” Whitaker, 49, 881 Burem Road, Rogersville.
“During the course of the traffic stop, Mr. Whitaker appeared to be extremely nervous,” Lawson said. “While in conversation with Mr. Whitaker, narcotics officers asked Mr. Whitaker if he was in possession of any controlled substances. Mr. Whitaker produced a prescription bottle from his pocket which contained an unspecified number of Endocet pills.”
Lawson added, “The prescription bottle was labeled to contain a non-controlled and non-narcotic stomach medication.”
A total of 42 7.5-milligram Endocet were seized. Endocet is a form of the Percocet pain medication that contains the highly abused drug oxycodone and is classified as a Schedule II narcotic.
Lawson said Whitaker was unable to produce a prescription for the Endocet.
During a routine pat-down, officers allegedly recovered a snort straw from the same pocket the Endocet pills had been located. Whitaker was charged with possession of Schedule II narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was held in the Hawkins County Jail on $10,000 bond pending Nov. 7 arraignment.