MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong announced the death of a 22-year-old man from an apparent overdose and the subsequent arrest of a woman that stemmed from a search warrant following the young man’s death early this morning.
The male victim, age 22, was pronounced dead on the scene by AMR medics. He was taken to the Knox County Regional Forensics Center where an autopsy will be conducted this week.
Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force arrested Sara Elizabeth Chandra, 35, of Maryville, and charged her with possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) for resale. She is being held on a $2,500 bond pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. July 28. In addition, warrants are on file for Carlos Perez, 25, who also resides at the apartment on Tallent Way, for possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) for resale and maintain a dwelling where drugs are used or sold.
Deputies responded to an apartment on Tallent Way at around 2:30 a.m. this morning to the report of a possible drug overdose. When deputies arrived, they found the male victim unresponsive in the bathroom. Deputies began CPR on the man and administered two doses of Narcan in an attempt to revive him, but they were unsuccessful in their efforts. AMR Ambulance Service arrived and confirmed that the victim was deceased. Deputies spoke with Sara Chandra. She told deputies that the victim arrived at the apartment Sunday evening and they used cocaine and alcohol together before he became unresponsive. Deputies observed numerous drugs in plain view in the apartment.
Deputies contacted the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, and a short time later narcotics investigators conducted a search warrant on the residence. In total, investigators seized 3 grams of methamphetamine, 1.1 gram of cocaine, 0.5 grams of heroin, 10 grams of Psilocybin (magic) mushrooms, 1.236 pounds of marijuana/THC wax, numerous prescription narcotics, three firearms, and approximately $3,200 cash.
Deputies contacted the Department of Children’s Services regarding a two-year-old boy who was in the apartment during the incident.
The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are pending.
From January 1 through July 18, 2021, local law enforcement, including the Sheriff’s Office and Maryville and Alcoa Police Departments, have responded to 213 overdoses and 35 overdose deaths.
The Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force is comprised of deputies and officers with Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department, and Alcoa Police Department.
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said narcotics investigators arrested a Chicago woman Thursday after she attempted to obtain ingredients for “purple drank” using fraudulent prescriptions.
Jasmine Alexandra Bee, 24, of West Chicago, Illinois, is being held on bonds totaling $40,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. July 21. Bee is charged with four counts of prescription fraud.
Thursday evening, investigators assigned to the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force were alerted to a local business where a woman, Jasmine Bee, was attempting to obtain promethazine with codeine using a fraudulent prescription.
Investigators took Bee into custody as she was attempting to leave the store. During the course of the investigation, investigators found additional fraudulent prescriptions and prescription pads in the woman’s vehicle. An individual with Bee was released with no charges.
Locally, law enforcement officers are seeing an uptick in activity related to “purple drank.” In March, narcotics investigators arrested a female from Chicago who attempted to use a fraudulent prescription, and in May investigators executed a search warrant for multiple types of drugs. In that search warrant, investigators seized eight pints of cough syrup containing promethazine with codeine. Offenders travel in small groups from larger cities and pass these fraudulent prescriptions at pharmacies in numerous states and the counties and cities within those states.
They then return to their state and resell it. The drug sells for between $250 and $400 a pint, and in larger cities, it can sell for even more. This highly addictive concoction is known as “purple drank”, “syrup,” “sizzurp,” and “dirty Sprite.”
Codeine and other opioids present a high risk of fatal overdose due to their effect of depressing the central nervous system, which can slow the heart and lungs. Mixing it with alcohol greatly increases risk, causing respiratory depression, organ damage, and death.
“Thankfully, the relationships that our law enforcement community has built over the years with our local businesses allow us to stay alert to individuals attempting to pass fraudulent prescriptions,” Sheriff Berrong said. “Our opioid overdoses and overdose deaths are at an all-time high in Blount County. Any arrest we make that keeps illegal and abused substances out of our area and other jurisdictions is a win.”
The Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force is comprised of officers and deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department, and Alcoa Police Department.
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said a Greenback woman was arrested and charged with seven counts of felony reckless endangerment after she drove through a vaccine tent at a high rate of speed Monday, placing the lives of seven workers in danger.
Virginia Christine Lewis Brown, 35, Rudd Road, Greenback, was released on bonds totaling $21,000 on her charges pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. June 7, 2021.
The incident occurred Monday morning at the Blount County Health Department vaccine site at Foothills Mall. Two Blount County Sheriff’s deputies who were working at the site witnessed Ms. Brown speed through the coned section and through the enclosed vaccine tent in a Chrysler Pacifica. The deputies reported that Ms. Brown did not stop at the check-in area at the entrance of the tent but continued through the tent at a high rate of speed, then exited the tent and out of the parking lot. Several personnel, who represent the Blount County Health Department and the Tennessee National Guard, ran out of the tent and toward the deputy’s vehicles.
Witnesses and staff told the deputies Ms. Brown yelled “No vaccine!” as she drove through the tent. One of the deputies followed the vehicle out of the parking lot and conducted a traffic stop on Morganton Road. Ms. Brown told the deputy that she drove through the site to protest the vaccine. Ms. Brown was arrested and taken to the Blount County Correctional Facility without incident.
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said investigators charged a 44-year-old Maryville man after a deadly altercation with his father Thursday afternoon.
Adam Leon Shope, 44, Valleyview Drive, Maryville, is being held in the Blount County Correctional Facility. Shope is charged with criminal homicide. Deputies also served him with a warrant for aggravated assault from a previous altercation involving his father. Shope is being held on bonds totaling $1.1 million pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. January 11.
At around 2 p.m. Thursday, deputies responded to the call of a stabbing in progress in the front yard of a residence on Valleyview Drive. As deputies were responding to the incident, they received information that the suspect, Adam Shope, fled the scene in a brown Kia sport utility vehicle after stabbing his father and striking him with his vehicle. A witness followed him out of the neighborhood and notified Blount County Communications of Shope’s location, and a deputy spotted the vehicle traveling north on Old Niles Ferry Road and conducted a felony traffic stop. Shope surrendered without incident and was taken to the Blount County Correctional Facility. As deputies arrived on the scene, witnesses were attempting CPR on the victim, Jasper L. Shope, 71, who was lying in a yard across the street from his residence. EMR-certified deputies and medics with AMR Ambulance Service attempted to resuscitate Mr. Shope, but they were unsuccessful.
Sheriff’s investigators are continuing to work on the case. Additional information will be released when it becomes available.