Two Rutherford County sheriff’s supervisors earned national awards for taking more than $1.5 million worth of drugs off Interstate 24 last year.
Sgt. Shawn Applegate received the award for the 2008 Largest Highway Prescription Pharmaceutical Seizure while Cpl. Travis Robinson earned the award for the 2008 Largest Highway Methamphetamine Seizure from the National Criminal Enforcement Association.
The association comprised of national interdiction units presented the awards during a training session last week in Atlanta.
Applegate supervises the sheriff’s Interstate Crime Enforcement unit. Robinson was assigned to the ICE unit before transferring to the patrol unit.
ICE Lt. Chris Haynes said Applegate confiscated more than 8,300 units of Dilaudid during a traffic stop Jan. 30, 2008 on Interstate 24. He estimated street value at $664,000.
“Dilaudid is a painkiller, basically a synthetic heroin, that sells for $40 to $60 per pill,” Haynes said.
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents adopted the case so the suspect will be prosecuted at the federal level. He is awaiting trial.
Robinson seized 19 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop Feb. 22, 2008 on I-24. The street value was set at $850,000. The suspect pleaded guilty in Circuit Court.
The Dilaudids were bound for Nashville and the methamphetamine was en route from California to Florida.
“It just shows two traffic stops on our interstate in our county and officers looking beyond the (traffic) violation made a significant impact on several communities by keeping these drugs from reaching their destination,” Haynes said. “A lot of the dealers in this area go to the Nashville area and receive the drugs which are eventually sold on the streets in our county.”
Sheriff Truman Jones said the ICE unit has done a tremendous job enforcing drug trafficking through Rutherford County by their ability, initiative and training.
“I am proud to have men of their caliber doing extra effort in their job performance,” Jones said. “It’s one of the most dangerous jobs but because of their commitment, they continue to serve the people of this community.”
Lisa Marchesoni may be reached at 869-0814 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.