October 7, 2013

Drug arrests in Family Courtroom

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer


Two men from Tazewell, Tenn. were arrested on drug charges on Tuesday after they exhibited signs of being under the influence.

Laurel County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Back conducted a drug investigation on 40-year-old Ronnie Bailey, who had been in Family Court. Back, along with Senior Sgt. Greg Poynter and Sgt. E.R. Rudder checked Bailey, who then admitted he had taken oxycodone pills earlier in the day. He was in possession of a bottle of Oxymorphine pills which had been filled just the day prior. Bailey told deputies he had taken six pills, but could not account for the other 27 as noted on the prescription bottle.

But finding a large amount of money in small denominations in his possession led sheriff’s officials to believe Bailey could have sold the remainder of the  pills, as the empty prescription bottle and large amount of cash are indicative of drug trafficking.

To further seal his fate, a search of Bailey’s vehicle in the parking lot of the Laurel County Judicial Center revealed a marijuana pipe and some marijuana. Bailey told deputies that neither of those belonged to him.

But the passenger in Bailey’s vehicle, 54-year-old Ralph Haley, also of Tazewell, Tenn., also claimed no knowledge of the pipe or the pot.

Sheriff’s officials did not believe their stories, however, and both were arrested.

Bailey is charged with public intoxication of a controlled substance, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Haley was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.