New charges in deadly overdose could mean life in prison - KCTV5

New charges in deadly overdose could mean life in prison

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OTTAWA, KS (KCTV) -

It was a deadly twist in a Kansas drug case and it's a twist that could result in nine people spending the rest of their lives behind bars.

An old mailbox turned prescription drop box is just one of several efforts in Ottawa, KS, to stop illegal sales of prescription drugs and this case is just one example of how dangerous they can be.

Meth is still a big problem in Ottawa, KS.

"(They) smoke it, snort it, shoot it," Sheriff Jeff Curry said.

But the fastest growing problem is prescription drugs.

"One of the very dangerous places that we're seeing this happen is inside our schools," Curry said.

The sheriff said even unmarked pills have a market for the kids who raid the cabinet.

"They could be antibiotics. They're getting a hold of drugs. They're taking them to the schools and they're just selling them for $5 to $10 apiece to other kids in the school," Curry said.

Hydrocodone is one of three drugs that formed a cocktail that allegedly killed someone in May 2009.

"There's so many people in this indictment," Curry said.

He said the case started with a local drug task force looking at prescription fraud.

"These people are professionals of their own on faking the right types of illnesses to get the right types of prescriptions," Curry said.

Now, three houses in Ottawa are primed for forfeiture and nine people are indicted after local law enforcement brought in the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration.

But combating the pill problem is something Curry said demands both enforcement and education.

"Instead of focusing on the youth, we're trying to shift our focus to the parents and to the older generation to educate them on how they can protect the youth by locking up these drugs and not making it so easy for them to get a hold of," he said.

KCTV5's Betsy Webster remembered a rash of drug problems previously in the area so she asked Curry about them. He said, statistically, it's no worse in Ottawa than anywhere else, but it might seem that way because when they have a bust, they try to go all the way with it.

The indictment doesn't give the name of the male victim you died May 9, 2009, in Ottawa or the name of another man who was hospitalized in April 2009 as a result of taking the drug cocktails.

Connie Edwards, 60; Brandi Bivins, 30; Shirley Price, 44; Angela Mitchell, 35; Tamara Ledom, 36; Brittany Edwards, 19; Dustin Price, 23; and Joel Keith Price, 54, all of Ottawa, are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Morphine and methamphetamine that resulted in death and serious bodily injury.

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