ROGERSVILLE — A passing motorist who also happens to be an investigator allegedly spotted a drug deal in progress on top of Clinch Mountain Wednesday and helped put a stop to an alleged mobile OxyContin- selling operation, resulting in three arrests.
Investigator Teddy Collingsworth, who works out of the Third Judicial District Attorney General’s office, was reportedly driving on Route 31 near the top of Clinch Mountain Wednesday shortly before 9 a.m. when he spotted what he believed to be a drug deal in progress in a Ford Explorer parked on the side of the road.
Collingsworth stopped to investigate, and as he approached the Explorer one of the three suspects in the vehicle reportedly spilled several 80 milligram OxyContin pills on the seat.
Two suspects, Robert Eric Collins, 48, and Rita Ann Collins, 46, both of Morristown, were sitting in the front seat of the Explorer while the third suspect, Charles Wendell Gilbert, 58, 123 Paully Avenue, Jonesville, was in the back seat.
Collingsworth detained the three suspects and called for the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office’s Narcotics Unit to come to the scene.
“After being advised of her rights, Mrs. Collins stated that Mr. Gilbert was there to purchase 25 OxyContin pills from her husband for $60 a piece,” HCSO Detective Brad Depew said. “She stated this was the third time they had met to sell Mr. Gilbert pills.”
A search of the Ford Explorer allegedly produced 58 80-milligram OxyContin pills, as well as 194 Oxycodone pills, 108 Hydrocodone pills and $6,151 in cash.
All three were charged with two counts of possession of Schedule II narcotics for resale and one count of possession of a Schedule III narcotics for resale. Aside from seizing the cash, the sheriff’s office also seized the Collins’ 1995 Ford Explorer and Gilbert’s 1994 Dodge Sprint.
All three have bonded out of jail — Gilbert and Robert Collins on $25,000 each and Rita Collins on $15,000. They are all scheduled for arraignment in Hawkins County Sessions Court on Sept. 17.