A woman from Carroll County, Va., is being held in the Surry County Jail for allegedly trafficking hydrocodone pills from a business kiosk at Mayberry Mall in Mount Airy.
Amanda Christine “Chrissy” Montgomery, 27, of Hillsville, is facing prescription drug charges as a result of an undercover operation involving the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement division and Mount Airy Police Department. She is jailed under a $75,000 secured bond.
The investigation began about two months ago after authorities received a complaint that Montgomery was selling pills while working at the mall on U.S. 52-North. ALE personnel then launched the operation along with the Mount Airy police narcotics unit.
On four different occasions, Montgomery allegedly sold a total of 135 pills to an undercover ALE agent, and at the time of her arrest during the weekend, she had an additional 31 pills in her possession, authorities said.
The Hillsville woman is charged with four counts each of trafficking in opiates, sale or delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance and use and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia.
Those offenses are alleged to have occurred on Nov. 15, Dec. 5, Jan. 2 and last Thursday.
Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson said Monday that the case involving Montgomery highlights the “magnitude” of the prescription drug problem, which is known to have caused nearly 50 overdose deaths in Surry County over the past two years.
“It’s out there and very prevalent in our community still,” said Watson, who spearheaded the formation of a local task force in 2011 in response to increasing abuse and misuse of various medications.
Despite the best efforts to educate the public about those dangers, there continue to be elements who seek to profit from the drug dependency of others, Watson said.
The fact that the most recent investigation involved the state Alcohol Law Enforcement division is a testament to the seriousness of the problem, the police chief said. “It does take a joint effort with local and state officials to combat this issue.”
ALE agents have the authority to arrest and take investigatory action for any criminal offense. Their primary responsibility is the enforcement of Alcoholic Beverage Control laws and the Controlled Substances Act.
The situation with illegal drug sales taking place in such a visible location as a Mayberry Mall kiosk was not lost on one of the state officers involved.
“We worked the investigation to stop the (illegal) sale of controlled substances in a family-friendly atmosphere,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brad Putnam.
Citing the recent deaths in Surry County from the misuse and abuse of such drugs, Putnam added, “This was an effort to thwart any more damage caused by the illegal sales of controlled substances.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.