The following press release has been issued by Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the Union County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office arrest of James Lanier Heaton, George David Gowder III, John Michael Gowder, Virginia Lou Harkins, Gail Gowder and Jamie Harkins, all who provided Blairsville, Georgia addresses, for charges stemming from a joint investigation into prescription fraud. (Photos not available as of publication time.)
The joint operation involved members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tactical Diversion Squad, the Union County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office and the Cherokee County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office. Although the investigation is ongoing to date, information has been discovered that would indicate that the ring was operating in Cherokee County, North Carolina and suspects may be facing charges in Cherokee County as well.
Sheriff Palmer stated, “We enjoyed the opportunity to work with the agencies involved. Sheriff Mack Mason and his Office have been a tremendous ally as we are sending the message. No longer can you deal drugs across county and state lines - We will hunt you down and prosecute you.”
Here's more on that story from AccessWDUN: http://accesswdun.com/article/2016/2/367724/union-general-hospital-ceo-arrested
Sheriff Palmer encourages anyone that has information on this crime or any other to report it. To report crime in Cherokee County you can call the anonymous tip line at 828-837-1344 or email a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 911 if you observe a crime in progress.
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