Three charged in pill pipeline
by Ralph B. Davis
SALYERSVILLE – Police have arrested three people they say were on both ends of a prescription pill pipeline from Ohio to Magoffin County, following a monthlong investigation by Operation UNITE.
Elliot Gipson, 32, and his wife, Erma Gipson, 39, both of Lima, Ohio, were charged with third-degree drug trafficking, while Melissa Wheeler, 33, of Salyersville, was charged with conspiracy to commit trafficking. All three were arrested Monday
According to Big Sandy UNITE Task Force Manager Keith Napier, the Gipsons were already on police radar, following an arrest last year on unrelated charges.
Napier said UNITE began looking at the three following reports of Xanax being transported to and sold in Magoffin County.
“They were bringing 200 to 300 pills twice a month into the community,” Napier said.
As a result of their investigation, UNITE detectives were able to set up a controlled purchase of pills Monday in the parking lot of a local fast-food restaurant.
“We recovered a quantity of Xanax packaged for sale and approximately $4,800 in cash,” Napier said, noting they “were finishing up a three-day trafficking binge and preparing to head back to Ohio.
Shortly after the arrests, sheriff’s deputies were able to launch a secondary undercover operation that resulted in Wheeler being arrested when she showed up to purchase pills from the Gipsons.
All three were lodged in the Johnson County Detention Center.
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