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Four charged in “smurfing” case

Published 6:03am Saturday, March 9, 2013

Four people were arrested on Wednesday for a case that involved a recently outlawed practice known as “smurfing,” which involves purchasing small amount of pseudoephedrine from several stores to try to avoid being flagged for making large purchases all at one time.
Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said those arrested in connection with the case were: Joseph Walker, 49, 4487 Franklin 79, Phil Campbell, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and 31 counts of attempt to manufacture a controlled substance;
Mary Millwood, 60, 4487 Franklin 79, Phil Campbell, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and 31 counts of attempt to manufacture a controlled substance;
Stephanie Edwards, 35, 189 Winston 3204, Haleyville, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and 14 counts of attempt to manufacture a controlled substance;
James Andresen, 22, 2644 Winston 9, Lynn, 16 counts of attempt to manufacture a controlled substance.
Oliver said investigators with the Franklin County Drug Unit were following up on reports of multiple pseudoephedrine purchases when they went to Walker’s residence on Franklin 79 in Phil Campbell on Wednesday.
Oliver said Millwood, Edwards and Anderson were all at the residence with Walker and during questioning, investigators discovered all four suspects had been involved in “smurfing” pseudoephedrine in multiple counties since 2010.
The practice of “smurfing” was outlawed in October in an attempt to strengthen the ability to prosecute those who commit or facilitate methamphetamine-related crimes.
Oliver said investigators also found a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the residence along with controlled prescription narcotics that were believed to be obtained illegally.

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