Five Rincon residents were arrested Thursday after investigators with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office discovered the group purchasing large amounts of ephedrine.
Wendy Owens, 31, James Bowen, 50, Nathan Bacon, 47, Misty Quesinberry, 41, and April Harkins, 60, were all arrested in the county. All but Bacon were neighbors who lived on Ebenezer Road.
“We’ve been doing pharmacy checks,” ECSO Capt. Mike Bohannon said about how the investigators discovered the group.
The checks are part of the methamphetamine legislation, House Bill 216, that Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law in 2005. Under the provision, law enforcement officers are able to go into pharmacies and check who has been purchasing medicines with the ingredients used to make methamphetamines such as ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.
“It’s a good law,” Bohannon said.
Investigators discovered the group visited different pharmacies in coastal Georgia and purchased large amounts of ephedrine, which is an active ingredient of methamphetamines. In some instances, they were buying 200-300 tablets a day in one area and then buying the same amount in another area the next day.
Thanks to the pharmacies and other law enforcement agencies, investigators were able to make the arrests.
“The pharmacies have been really cooperative with us,” Bohannon noted.
The five suspects are now at the Effingham County Jail and each faces two felony charges: conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of substances containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylproanolamine. Some of them have criminal histories involving methamphetamine use and manufacture.
Bohannon expects more suspects related to this group to be arrested in the next several days.
He is adamant that the sheriff’s office is going to get aggressive in monitoring questionable purchases at area pharmacies by doing a lot more checks.
“If you’re going into pharmacies and buying large amounts of pseudoephedrine, we’re gonna find you,” he warned.