United States Attorney Announces Southern Indiana Drug Indictments
Combined Federal, State and Local Effort Dismantles Prescription Drug and Methamphetamine Distribution Cell
U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler for the Southern District of Indiana announced today a collaborative effort between federal, state and local law enforcement in the fight to help reduce prescription and illegal drug abuse in Scott County, Indiana. Ten individuals were indicted this week and arrested today on drug charges including conspiracy to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance.
“Scott County was targeted by an organization with the goal of infesting that community with drugs, including the prescription painkiller Opana,” said U.S. Attorney Minkler. “It became an epidemic and local law enforcement asked for our help. Today, I am pleased to announce that the organization has been dismantled but this is only a start; one aspect of a bigger solution.”
In June 2015, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Indianapolis began working with Scott County law enforcement officials to determine the source of the powerful prescription painkiller Opana (oxymorphone) and methamphetamine which were prevalent in Austin, Indiana, and other parts of Scott County. Investigators quickly determined that Bennito L. Rodriguez and his wife Brooklynn G. Mack both of Scottsburg, Indiana, orchestrated the supply of Opana and methamphetamine for redistribution into the Scott County community.
Through various investigative techniques law enforcement officials determined that Rodriguez and Mack would obtain their supply of methamphetamine and Opana from sources in Louisville, Kentucky, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Detroit, Michigan. The two then organized a redistribution network using other members of the conspiracy to sell the drugs in Scott County.
A total of ten individuals were indicted.
Bennito L Rodriguez aka Benny, 38, of Scottsburg.
Brooklynn G. Mack, 29, of Scottsburg.
Rashawn A. Vaughn aka Ray, 41, of Louisville.
Eric L. Gude aka, 36, Bubba, of Indianapolis.
Rashaan S. Perkins, aka Phil aka D, 21, of Detroit.
Anthony L. Hardy, 39, of Indianapolis.
James D. Haney, 56, of Austin.
Justin M. Roberts aka Booger, 38, of Austin..
Travis D. Brock, 34, of Scottsburg.
Michael A. Doyle, 38, of Scottsburg.
Recently, Scott County has experienced an outbreak of HIV cases, due in part to intravenous drug use. The abuse of heroin and Opana is dramatically on the rise and has caused a public health crisis. According to law enforcement sources, an Opana pill has a street value of up to $160 and can be dissolved and injected by up to four individuals to get high. One of the primary reasons for the increase in HIV is the abuse of these drugs by injection with shared needles. Typically Scott County would report less than ten cases of HIV annually but in the last 13 months has reported 188 cases. In April 2015, Scott County implemented a needle exchange as one means of slowing the spread of HIV.
“A public health crisis will not be solved by simply arresting those who illegally sell drugs. It also requires a reduction in demand for illegal drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Minkler. “That can only be accomplished by all of us-federal, state and local authorities along with public and private partnerships working together for prevention and treatment.”
In addition to the criminal enforcement effort, federal authorities began looking at this case with a three-pronged approach. The foundation of DEA’s 360 strategy includes enforcement, diversion control and community outreach. Arresting individuals is a first step, but follow-up is equally important. DEA also took steps to identify those who might be responsible for excessive writing or filling opiate-based prescription medications. Further, DEA provided community outreach to pharmacy employees by educating them on their pharmacy liability and what combinations of controlled substances may be used illegally on the street and raise suspicion to pharmacists.
“Scott County is one of the many great communities in our nation that is experiencing the pharmaceutical drug and methamphetamine epidemic that is turning Americans into drug addicts,” said Associate Special Agent in Charge Karen I. Flowers for the DEA. “DEA will always stand with our local and state partners to fight this epidemic. Today’s work is the beginning of a safer, stronger and healthier Scott County.”
“I am grateful for the participation of our state and federal partners in this operation,” said Sheriff Dan McClain for the Scott County Sheriff’s Office “This should be an indication to drug dealers throughout the county that our law enforcement agencies are working together to get drugs off our streets.”
“The DEA and the US Attorney have tools in their toolbox that are not available in state prosecutions, which make these types of outcomes difficult for us to pursue with local resources alone,” said Prosecutor Jason Mount for Scott County Prosecutor’s Office. “As one can see, these investigations can be long-term and intensive. We appreciate their joint efforts in this matter and look forward to continuing to work together in both federal and state prosecutions.”
“For those that are addicted, we want to point them to the services they need to end their addiction,” said Superintendent Doug Carter for the Indiana State Police. “But for those who are trafficking and profiting from those suffering the misery of addiction, we will work tirelessly with our local and federal partners to put them in prison for a long, long time.
This case was jointly investigated by DEA offices from Indianapolis, Louisville, Detroit and Atlanta, Scott and Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U. S. Postal Inspection Service, United States Marshal’s Service, Indiana State Police, Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department and the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Drug and Violent Crime Chief Bradley Blackington, these defendants face ten years to Life imprisonment if convicted.
An indictment is merely a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.