Blount County pharmacies recognized in battle on meth

Blount County Sheriff James Berrong addresses those gathered to recognize local pharmacies for their help in the battle against methamphetamine use. To his left is - United States Attorney General for the Eastern District of Tennessee James R. “Russ” Dedrick.

Blount County Sheriff James Berrong addresses those gathered to recognize local pharmacies for their help in the battle against methamphetamine use. To his left is - United States Attorney General for the Eastern District of Tennessee James R. “Russ” Dedrick.

Local and state law enforcement gathered on Tuesday, July 28, to recognized area pharmacies that have helped in the battle against methamphetamine use.

Blount County Sheriff James Berrong and other Blount County law enforcement agencies, along with Tommy Farmer, director of the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, recognize Blount County pharmacies for their cooperation and assistance with East Tennessee’s growing methamphetamine problem during a ceremony at the Maryville Municipal building.

The ceremony was an opportunity for the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, along with the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, to acknowledge and show appreciation to those in the business community for their efforts to partner with law enforcement to fight the scourge that is plaguing local communities and our state, TMTF Director Farmer said. Following the ceremony, the group visited 11 local pharmacies who have been instrumental in assisting the Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force with their methamphetamine cases.

To date, local businesses have been instrumental in assisting local law enforcement with the arrest and conviction of multiple suspects attempting to purchase pseudoephedrine for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.

“The assistance of these businesses is instrumental to the success that we’ve had in the arrest and prosecution of these individuals,” Sheriff Berrong said. “We want to make the statement to prospective meth cookers that they will not get away with coming to Blount County to purchase the precursors for making methamphetamine.”

Farmer applauded the efforts of the businesses. “The success of these partnerships between businesses and law enforcement exemplifies the benefits of everyone working together to fight the meth problem in Tennessee,” Farmer said. “By working together, we can make a difference by making our communities and neighborhoods safer.”

During the ceremony, several law enforcement officials were in attendance, and each spoke for a couple of minutes. In addition to Berrong and Farmer, also attending were James R. “Russ” Dedrick, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee; District Attorney General Mike Flynn; Maryville Police Department Chief Tony J. Crisp; Alcoa Police Chief Ken Burge; Sgt. Jim Derry, Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force and the Tennessee Air National Guard; and Billy Cook, director of the 14th Judicial District Drug Task Force.

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