9 arrested in pill distribution ring

Published On: Sep 10 2013 11:57:19 AM EDT   Updated On: Sep 10 2013 12:24:34 PM EDT

Nine people have been arrested and six vehicles have been seized in an illegal pill distribution ring in Bradford County.

Deputies said they completed a lengthy undercover investigation about 3 a.m. Saturday. They named it Operation Walking Dead.

IMAGES: Mug shots of 9 arrested

They said the suspects would obtain prescription pills by fraudulent means and either use or sell the pills for profit.

On Friday, investigators used several confidential informants and undercover agents to purchase and sell the illegal prescriptions. The operation took place at Dyal Cemetery in western Bradford County near the Bradford-Union county line.

"This investigation stems from a prescription pill epidemic that has swept across the state in recent years," Sheriff Gordon Smith said. "Numerous deaths have been attributed to the misuse of prescription medication, and some of these suspects looked like zombies when we arrested them. During this investigation, many times the prescriptions were purchased from patients who lawfully obtained them from their doctor. The drug dealers in this ring would then purchase the pills from the patient and mark them up, making a profit. The investigation is ongoing and other arrest and property seizures are likely."

Those arrested were Paul Jones, 43, of Starke; Christopher Sangster, 55, of Starke; Felicia Swafford, 21, of Starke; Peggy Sweat, 41, of Hampton; Jamie Prevatt, 22, of Starke; Brandon Smith, 21, of Lake Butler; Larry Dobbs, 42, of Raiford; Albert Andrews, 42, of Lake Butler; and Justin Rogers, 27, of Raiford.