Clanton Police arrest 3 in prescription drug scheme

Published 3:55 pm Monday, August 12, 2013

Clanton Police arrested three Birmingham residents last week in a prescription drug scheme.

Police allege Kanasha Lake Edwards, 23, Lance Carter Johnstone, 28, and Marcus Jeremy McCune, 37 attempted to pass forged prescriptions at local pharmacies so they could later sell the drugs.

The three were arrested on Aug. 7 and charged with two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (a felony), five counts of possessing a forged instrument, according to a CPD press release. They were placed in Chilton County Jail on a $25,000 bond each.

Clanton Narcotics officers received information that the group was attempting to pass forged prescriptions, set up surveillance at a local pharmacy and made the arrests when the suspects returned to pick up the prescriptions.

One suspect attempted to elude officers but was still arrested.

“This is the second such group that our officers have arrested in the last two weeks,” Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said in the release. “They come from out of town to attempt to pass forged prescriptions and take those prescriptions to sell on the street in Birmingham or other larger cities.”

The group was in possession of five more forged prescriptions.

The street value of the narcotics, had they filled all the prescriptions, would have been more than $10,000.

Pill cases now make up the bulk of the Narcotics officers’ workload, according to the release.

According to CPD records, the Narcotics unit has worked 282 prescription drug cases resulting in 231 arrests in 2013. In the same time period, the unit has worked 220 cases of all other type drugs (cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, marijuana, etc.) with 208 arrests.

“As the numbers show, prescription drug abuse is becoming a huge problem, resulting in 56 percent of all our drug cases worked since the first of the year,” Stilwell said. “Prescription drug cases are very cumbersome and require more paperwork than other drug crimes.”

Stilwell thanked local pharmacies for their cooperation with the police effort to curb prescription drug abuse.