Large-scale drug ring linked to HIV outbreak dismantled; 10 accused of flooding Scott County with drugs

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SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 5, 2016)– Federal, local and state authorities served several search warrants and took 10 people into custody Friday morning in connection with a drug ring in Scott County.

CBS4 was there as authorities took the alleged ring leader and his girlfriend from a home in the 900 block of West Owen Street in Scottsburg, Ind., around 6 a.m. Agents spent the morning removing evidence and several dogs from the house.

Officials say the man they identified as the ringleader of the operation owns a car lot near his house in the 300 block of Gardner Street. The site was also raided and all of the vehicles were seized.

The ten people indicted in today’s sweep are accused of a variety of charges from dealing prescription pill and other illegal drugs to supplying narcotics. Police described it as a large-scale criminal organization that targeted Scott County, flooding the area with methamphetamine and the prescription painkiller Opana.

Last year, Scott County experienced an HIV outbreak that health officials attributed to sharing drug needles. It is believed users crushed the pill and made it into a liquid form before injecting it. Friday’s investigation is partly in response to the increase in HIV cases. Typically, Scott County sees about 10 cases of HIV annually; in the last 13 months, 188 cases have been reported.

In addition to Indiana, search warrants were also served in Detroit and Louisville in connection with the investigation, which officials called “Operation Dire Straits.” The operation has been in the works since June, when federal and local officials began working together to find the source of drugs linked to the HIV outbreak.

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said the organization behind the drug ring has been dismantled. Bennito L. Rodriguez and his wife, Brooklynn G. Mack, orchestrated the operation, according to Minkler. The drugs came from several places, including Louisville, Indianapolis and Detroit. The two then set up a network to redistribute Opana and meth in Scott County.

Also indicted in the case were:

  • Rashawn A. Vaughn, 41, Louisville
  • Eric L. Gude, 36, Indianapolis
  • Rashaan S. Perkins, 21, Detroit
  • Anthony L. Hardy, 39, Indianapolis
  • James D. Haney, 56, Austin
  • Justin M. Roberts, 38, Austin
  • Travis D. Brock, 34, Scottsburg
  • Michael A. Doyle, 38, Scottsburg

Those taken into custody Friday morning will be transported to Indianapolis and will make their first court appearance in federal court Friday afternoon.

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