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Busts hint at danger of pills
Five arrested in past week
Morales delores
Delores Morales - photo by Submitted
Authorities are cautioning the public about illegal prescription drug use in light of the recent arrests of five people in unrelated incidents.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s investigators confiscated nearly 1,400 pills Saturday morning when they searched two rooms at a local hotel. Of those pills, about 887 were synthetic narcotics.

“We’ve been seeing an excessive amount of synthetic narcotics floating around the county recently,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Col. Gene Moss.

Synthetic narcotics include painkillers like Oxycontin and anti-anxiety medications, including Xanax, which are legally obtained through a doctor’s prescription.

Moss said those who are getting the drugs illegally and abusing them are typically between the ages of 15 and 25.

Ryan Austin Brooks, 22, and Alexandra Elizabeth Reiss, 21, both of Forsyth County, were arrested Saturday and charged with possession with intent to distribute synthetic narcotics.

Oretha Cistrunk Melvin, 47, of Tampa, Fla., was charged with multiple counts of the same charge.

Sheriff’s Investigator Scotty Spriggs said Brooks and Reiss were sharing a room at the hotel and Melvin was in another room.

Spriggs said authorities found about 387 Oxycontin, Xanax and Roxicodone pills in the couple’s room. Melvin had about 500 of the same pills in hers, as well as about 500 non-schedule pills.

Spriggs said Oxycontin is synthetic heroin and more expensive than the illegal drug. He said an addiction to Oxycontin can lead to abuse of the drug in its cheaper form.

The couple’s child, who is less than a year old, was also in their hotel room.

The baby was turned over to the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Spriggs said.

He said investigators learned last week that Brooks, who they had been monitoring since 2008, was staying at the hotel.

Hotel management subsequently reported suspicious activity.

“Management called 911 and was letting us know about numerous younger individuals coming in and out of a room,” Spriggs said. “They thought somebody was dealing drugs out of the hotel.”

He said authorities determined through the search that the supplier, who they identified as Melvin, was two doors down.

Spriggs said authorities had known about Melvin for nearly a year, but tracking her was difficult.

Moss said Melvin had been bringing “anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 synthetic narcotics [pills] a month” from Florida.

Earlier in the week, the sheriff’s office arrested Delores Louise Morales, 43, and Henry Lynn Puckett, 21, both of Forsyth County, for selling synthetic narcotics.

Investigation continues into both cases, which authorities have said are not related to the bust at the hotel.