Comments Off on Sixteen arrested in Central Texas after mass purchase of meth ingredient

Sixteen people were arrested Wednesday after pharmacy records showed they  purchased more than 100,000 pills of pseudoephedrine — a decongestantthat  can be used to make methamphetamine from stores across Williamson County — over  the past two years.

The medicine was taken back to a house west of Leander in Travis County where  meth was being produced, officials said.

“I’ve been here for 15 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen this  large of a population of people all working together in one meth trafficking  case,” Williamson County sheriff’s office spokesman John Foster said  Thursday.

The arrests were part of a joint investigation by the Williamson County  sheriff’s office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Federal law requires pharmacies to maintain records of who purchases  pseudoephedrine, the date and time of the purchase, as well as the location  and amount of the medicine purchased.

Foster said county narcotics officers regularly work with pharmacies to catch  people making frequent, large-quantity purchases.

“With the amount of people they had going from pharmacy to pharmacy to  pharmacy purchasing it, obviously they were gathering quite a bit of  pseudoephedrine,” Foster said.

About 101,545 tablets of the medicine were purchased between Jan. 1, 2010, and  May 30, officials said.

“They knew what they were purchasing and what it was going to be used for,”  he said.

Officials searched a house on the 21700 block of Highclimb Court in Travis  County and found meth and chemicals indicative of making the drug, officials  said.

All have been charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a first  degree felony, and face five to 99 years in jail if convicted.

Lynne Pfeffer, 52, Melissa Moore, 47, Gregory Hatch, 41, Sherry Lindsey, 36,  Teena Chidester, 59, Ronald Allred, 57, Barbara Slawson, 53, Cynthia  Williams, 61, Linda Pyron, 49, Joshua Giles, 38, Judson Joyner, 53, and  Kimberly Turner, 42, are all in the Williamson County Jail with bonds set at  $75,000, according to a news release.

Tyra Stoddard, 52, and Edwin Oertli, 57, are in the Travis County Jail with  bonds set at $45,000 and Randy Hasty, 54, is in the Travis County Jail with  bond set at $15,000, the release said.

Bridget Hopple, 45, is in Travis County Jail with bond set at $125,000 for  allegedly engaging in organized criminal activity and manufacture or  delivery of a controlled substance, according to jail records.



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