Local narcotics investigators arrested a Chicago woman Thursday after she allegedly tried to use fraudulent prescriptions to obtain ingredients for “purple drank,” according to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.
Jasmine Alexandra Bee, 24, West Chicago, Illinois, is charged with four counts of prescription fraud, Sheriff James Berrong said in a BCSO press release. She was being held on bonds totaling $40,000 pending a 9 a.m. hearing July 21 in Blount County General Sessions Court.
Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force investigators were alerted Thursday evening to a local business where Bee was trying to obtain promethazine with codeine by using a fraudulent prescription, the release states. As Bee was leaving the store, investigators took her into custody.
“During the course of the investigation, investigators found additional fraudulent prescriptions and prescription pads in the woman’s vehicle,” the release states. “An individual with Bee was released with no charges.”
The Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force is made up of deputies and officers from BCSO and the Maryville and Alcoa police departments.
Local law enforcement is seeing an increase in activity regarding the “purple drank,” a highly addictive concoction also known as “syrup,” “sizzurp” and “dirty Sprite,” the release states.
“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,” the release states.
“In that search warrant, investigators seized eight pints of cough syrup containing promethazine with codeine.”
Offenders travel from larger cities in small groups to pass fraudulent prescriptions at pharmacies in numerous states, plus the counties and cities within them; afterward, they return to their original state for resell.
The drug sells for between $250 and $400 per pint, and can sell for even more in larger cities, the release states.
“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,” Berrong said in the release.
“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.”