By: H. TRUMAN CHAFIN
November 13, 2012
WILLIAMSON - “These prescriptions were legally obtained – but unlawfully sold,” stated Williamson Police Chief C.D. Rockel, as he referred to a drug buy that occurred in downtown Williamson Tuesday afternoon, just minutes after the defendant had picked up a prescription for Hydrocodone (Lortab) 7.5 tablets, a Schedule II narcotic, from a local pharmacy.
Mingo County Special Investigator Eugene Crum told the Daily News that he had received an anonymous tip that Bernadine “Dean” Francis, 57, of N. Big Creek Rd., Hatfield, Ky., had been observed selling prescription pills in the Tug Valley Pharmacy parking lot, located on 2nd Avenue. Crum immediately notified Chief Rockel, and they got with a confidential informant and traveled to the pharmacy. After contact was made between the C.I. and Francis, a location on 5th Ave. was selected as the buy-zone. While at the arranged site, Francis is said to have sold a quantity of hydrocodone tablets to the informant.
Francis was taken into custody and was arrested on one count of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school (Williamson Middle). While conducting a search of the defendant, the officers discovered their drug-buy money, along with other hydrocodone tablets in his possession. Francis was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler who set bond at $75,000, full-cash, and was remanded to the custody of the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden.
Williamson Patrolman D. Paige also recognized Francis as being in the company of people that were recently cited for public intoxication on 2nd Avenue near City Tire, including one female who urinated in public and received a citation for indecent exposure.
“You can’t sell drugs,” said Crum. “That’s as plain as I can put it. It’s an illegal act and you will go to jail. People get over confident and they think they are either above the law or that they’re too smart for us and won’t get caught. Neither of those statements is true.”
“From what I understand, Mr. Francis is well known among the business owners and private citizens of both Mingo and Pike County,” stated Rockel. “This is a perfect example that the same rules apply to everyone.”
Since being appointed as Special Drug Investigator on Aug. 1 of this year, Crum and Chief Rockel have headed up drug investigations that have so far, yielded 27 felony arrests from all portions of Mingo County. Several convictions against these defendants have already been obtained by the prosecutor’s office and a number of guilty pleas have been entered by others who faced drug charges.