SOUTHERN INDIANA — A Georgia man said to be a major supplier of methamphetamine and Opana to the Southern Indiana region was arrested Wednesday, according to a news release from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Charles Pruett, 33, was arrested in Bremen, Ga., and found in possession of several illegal drugs, including three-quarters of a pound of methamphetamine, in addition to two handguns and $21,500 in cash.
Pruett is connected with a methamphetamine bust at a Henryville gas station that resulted in four other men being arrested and charged. According to the release, Pruett was charged in Clark County on Friday and will be extradited to Indiana on charges of conspiracy to deal methamphetamine.
Jon Morgan, 28, Scottsburg, and Michael Elkins, 34, Georgia, are accused of transporting nearly four ounces of methamphetamine from Georgia to Indiana on June 16.
During a search, police also found 19 Opana pills — a prescription opioid that is tied to Scott County’s HIV outbreak through intravenous drug abuse — and an AK-47 in Morgan’s truck. Elkins later told police he originally had 60 Opana pills but had sold them. The AK-47, he said, belonged to him and was purchased in exchange for $450 worth of methamphetamine.
Under surveillance, police had Elkins call Pruett, who Elkins named as his methamphetamine source in Georgia, according to the probable cause affidavit. The two men arranged to have eight ounces, or $1,700 worth, of methamphetamine delivered to Indiana by way of a courier.
Police stopped the Chevrolet Tahoe carrying the methamphetamine just south of the Indiana state line. The driver, Tyler Turner, Georgia, and passenger William Thrower, Georgia, were arrested after police found plastic containers containing methamphetamine in the vehicle. More arrests in Indiana and Georgia “are forthcoming,” according to the release.
The DEA said it has teamed up with the Indiana State Police, Scott County Sheriff’s Office and both Clark and Floyd County prosecutors to combat the use of methamphetamine and Opana in the area, adding that the drugs account for “150 infected drug users in Southern Indiana.”
According to Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Kevin Burke, Clark County’s rate of new HIV cases in 2014 was about 37.5 percent higher than the state average. The rate of new cases of hepatitis C was over 40.5 percent higher than the state average in the same year.
At an initial hearing on Friday, Turner and Thrower both said they were unaware of a regional hepatitis C or HIV outbreak.
All four men from the original bust, including Turner and Thrower, are being held in Clark County Jail on $50,000 cash-only bonds with tentative trial dates set for November.