Four people are in custody after Walton County Sheriff's deputies busted an alleged pill mill operation.
A deputy driving along Jacks Creek Road near Old Good Hope Road Monday night spotted a U-Haul truck and trailer along with another a car. Investigators said the four suspects were in the process of moving their counterfeit pill operation to an abandoned building in the woods and were going to run it using a generator. They believe they were moving the operation from a different county. Deputies and DEA agents worked overnight into Tuesday to clean up the area.
Major Damien Mercer said the suspects had a few thousand pills on them at the time and had enough chemicals to produce another 50,000 before they needed more materials. The pill press could produce 16,000 pills an hour, he said. He added that one pill could sell for $3 to $5.
"They're capable of producing a lot of pills for a lot of profit, do a lot of damage to a lot of people's lives," said Major Mercer.
The pills still need to be tested, but investigators believe it was a Xanax-type pill that was being manufactured. Testing will also reveal whether it included the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.
"Had they had those kind of chemicals on it and had a wreck or something like that then we could have potentially had a really big mess," said Major Mercer. "We've had a lot of public safety deaths around the country in the last few years just from ingesting or inhaling fentanyl or getting it on your skin, it's scary and that's why when we took that lab apart, the rolling pill mill apart, we did it out here instead of taking the chance of moving it on a tow truck, having a wreck, contaminating folks going down the road, moving it to evidence at the sheriff's office, contaminating the whole jail.”
The four men arrested are: Austin Marshall Jakob Sullins Nicholas Felker Timothy BallardCopyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.