Amber S. McCurry
Investigators believe a Telford woman arrested on charges of selling the emerging street drug “gravel” is connected to recent arrests in Sullivan County and said the drug ring could be more extensive.
Amber Sue Ann McCurry, 24, 496 Treadway Trail Road, was arrested on charges of possession of synthetic analogues for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia. Washington County sheriff’s investigators said Wednesday they seized more than $17,000 worth of gravel from that residence over the weekend.
Gravel contains the chemical Pyrrolidinopentiophenone — called alpha PVP for short — a synthetic stimulant acting on the cardiovascular and central nervous system, much like bath salts. Investigators believe the substance came into the area from another country by way of the Internet.
Investigators found 64 grams of gravel, scales, a ledger, numerous bongs used to smoke the drug and $2,100 cash at the Treadway Trail residence, Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said during a news conference Wednesday.
Sheriff’s deputies and investigators found the drugs after officers responded to a 911 call from a woman who said she was being held against her will.
It turns out the woman was simply paranoid from having used the drug, officials said. Graybeal said it’s known to cause extreme paranoia in users.
When deputies first arrived on that call, they found several people inside the house and saw numerous items of drug paraphernalia strewn about the home, along with items indicating drug distribution. That’s what led to other officers being sent to the scene, which Graybeal called a “drug house.” Officers on the scene were able to talk to the woman who rented the home, Dyann Hale, and obtained permission to search it. Hale is in the Washington County Detention Center after being arrested a week ago on a charge of possession of gravel for resale. She was arrested after a traffic stop and officers found several baggies of the drug in her vehicle.
If the ledger calculations are correct, sales from a previous batch of the drug netted more than $56,000, Lt. Doug Gregg said.
Interviews and ledger entries led investigators to estimate the value of the drug at $280 per gram, making the total worth of the seizure $17,920.
Gregg said investigators also found a large and unusual array of bongs, which is a drug-smoking device usually made of glass bottles and jars with plastic tubing attached.
He said officers learned through interviews that McCurry “made a bong” every time she got high. Most of the bongs were destroyed, but investigators seized a half-dozen as evidence.
Graybeal said he wanted to hold the news conference to make sure the public becomes educated about gravel.
“It’s really bad. It’s hit here really hard ... this is the third time we’ve seen it here,” he said. “I’d say it’s comparable with meth,” but it’s also been compared to bath salts.
“This smells like it’s been cut with diesel fuel,” he said, holding up bag of the rock-like drug. “We want people to be aware of it and what this drug will do to you.”
Anyone with information about the sale of gravel, bath salts or any other synthetic drug can call the sheriff’s office at 788-1414.
McCurry was arraigned on her charges in Washington County Sessions Court earlier this week and was being held on an $11,000 bond. She and Hale will have preliminary hearings later this month on their respective charges.–––––––––
Earlier report posted at 11:11 a.m. Nov. 13, 2013:
A tip about a person held captive recently led Washington County Sheriff's Deputies to seize a large quantity of the street drug "gravel" from a Telford residence and charge a 24-year-old woman with dealing the synthetic drug.
Sheriff Ed Graybeal announced today in a news conference that deputies found about 64 grams of the drug from 496 Treadway Trail Road.
The drug contains the chemical Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, a synthetic stimulant acting on the cardiovascular and central nervous system, much like bath salts. Investigators believe the substance came into the area from another country.
Arrested was Amber Sue Ann McCurry, 24.
Graybeal said deputies went to McCurry's residence acting on information that someone was being held against his or her will. Deputies found several people inside and saw numerous items of drug paraphernalia strewn about the home, along with items indicating drug distribution.
Investigators were called in to take over the investigation, because the homeowner, Dyann Hale, was recently arrested on charges that she had several baggies of gravel.
Interviews led the investigators to estimate the value of the drug at $280 per gram, making the total worth of the seizure $17,920. Investigators also seized more than $2,100 in cash from the residence.
Graybeal said deputies also linked the to the recent gravel arrest at the Sleep Inn off Airport Parkway in Sullivan County.
McCurry was arrested Sunday and charged with possession of synthetic analogues for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia.
McCurry was jailed in the Washington County Detention Center on$11,000 bond and arraigned Tuesday in Sessions Court. Her next court date was set for Monday. McCurry also had an outstanding warrant from Carter County for violation of probation.
The sheriff asked anyone with information on the sales of gravel, bath salts or any synthetic drug to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 788-1414.
Earlier reported posted at 9:26 a.m.:
Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal has called a 10:30 a.m. press conference to announce the arrest of an alleged "Gravel" drug dealer.
The rock-like substance contains alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone. Alpha-PVP for short, it’s a synthetic stimulant acting on the cardiovascular and central nervous system, much like bath salts.
In a media advisory, the sheriff described the arrest as "substantial." The press conference is scheduled to take place at the Sheriff's Office in Jonesborough.
Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for more on this developing story.Related: Gravel drug turns up in Washington County