Pills and $36K in cash seized from alleged Opana trafficking ring

Jeff Bobo • Apr 12, 2018 at 3:27 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County deputies seized a large quantity of opioids and almost $36,000 Friday in a raid that concluded a year-long investigation into a pill trafficking scheme connecting Hawkins County and South Carolina.

In January of last year, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit initiated an investigation into Bobby Ray Caudill, 56, 628 Shepherds Chapel Road, Rogersville, after receiving complaints that large quantities of oxymorphone were being trafficked from his residence.

Also known as Opana, oxymorphone is a strong combination of the painkillers oxycodone and morphine and has been identified as among the most addictive and potentially lethal opiates being used illegally. 

Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said deputies were able to make multiple undercover oymorphone purchases from Caudill.

During the investigation, the HCSO allegedly uncovered a connection between an unknown source of pills in South Carolina and two other suspects: Jennifer Juanita Laux, 49, 628 Shepherds Chapel Road Rogersville; and Kenneth Eugene Hensley, 53, West Columbia, S.C.

As the investigation progressed over the past year, the HCSO allegedly made controlled drug buys from Laux as well as Glenda Charlene Helton, 39, 622 Hecktown Road, Rogersville.

Earlier this month, the Narcotics Unit obtained a search warrant for Caudill’s residence.

“In preparation for the execution of the warrant, officers were conducting surveillance on the residences to obtain intelligence,” Lawson said. “During the surveillance, officers observed a pickup truck arrive at Helton’s residence bearing a South Carolina registration. A female, known to law enforcement as Glenda Helton, then exited the residence and left in the pickup truck.”

The truck traveled to the home of Caudill, which police believed to be the source of the drugs.

Officers then executed the search warrant and located Caudill, Laux, Helton and Hensley at the residence.

During a search of the home, officers allegedly located approximately 144 oxymorphone 40mg tablets and $11,091 hidden in the bedroom closet. Deputies also seized a rifle and a pistol.

Laux was allegedly found to be in possession of 22 oxycodone 20mg tablets, and Hensley was allegedly found to be in possession of $5,865 and approximately 50 alprazolam tablets.

While continuing the search, officers located an additional $19,000 outside the residence, approximately 78 oxycodone 30mg tablets and approximately 35 oxycodone 18.5mg capsules.

None of the individuals were able to show a valid prescription for the controlled substances.

All were arrested and transported to the Hawkins County Jail, where they gave statements confirming the group had conspired to distribute narcotics.

Caudill and Laux were each charged with possession of oxymorphone with intent to deliver, possession of oxycodone with intent to deliver and maintaining a dwelling for drug use. Both were arraigned Wednesday and are being held on $50,000 bond.

Helton was charged with criminal responsibility for the distribution of Schedule II narcotics. She was arraigned Wednesday and is in jail on $25,000 bond.

Hensley was charged with sale and delivery of oxymorphone and possession of Alprazolam with intent to deliver. He was arraigned Wednesday and is in jail on $50,000 bond.

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