If you pile together enough rocks, you essentially create a mountain. That is apparently what the federal government’s Drug Enforcement Administration had in mind when they named a recent law enforcement action “Operation Crystal Mountain.” The sweeping effort involved federal agents, as well as state and local police departments in three states: Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky.
It’s about a 250-mile drive west of Chattanooga to get to Jackson, Tennessee. The city of about 65,000 is home to the so-called “Rock Doc,” a flamboyant nurse practitioner who tried to remake himself into a star. Jeffrey W. Young II was recently described by Tennessean as “a tattooed, rebellious, womanizing party animal who worked hard, played hard and lived by his own rules.”
Before he became a police officer, Geraldo Orta was a University of Tennessee football player perhaps best known for being accused of beating up a teammate. Today, he has become known as a former cop who was fired for lying and for being accused in a federal lawsuit of using excessive force while making a drug arrest.
To the northeast of Hamilton County sits our neighbor, Rhea County. Though Rhea has just one-tenth of the population of Hamilton, it is rich in natural beauty, including the Laurel-Snow State Natural Area and others.
If you drive northeast of Chattanooga for about an hour, you will arrive in Athens, Tennessee. The town of about 13,000 residents bills itself as “the friendly city” that is “conveniently located between Knoxville and Chattanooga.”
If you drive north of Chattanooga for about 140 miles, you will come to small, sparsely populated Clay County. A doctor in the rural Middle Tennessee county was recently arrested on drug crime charges, accused of overprescribing opioids and benzodiazepines for no legitimate reason.
The recent news that dozens of medical professionals across the U.S. had been charged for allegedly participating in a scheme to illegally prescribe millions of pain medications rocked the medical world. Among those facing federal charges are doctors, nurses and pharmacists, news reports stated.
Chattanooga’s Lipsey Trucking is not a household name, but along with Lipsey Logistics (its sister company), it owns dozens of 18-wheelers and employs 200 people. Owner Joseph Lipsey III was recently arrested on drug-related charges in Colorado.
If you drive about 200 miles northwest of Chattanooga, you will arrive in Only, Tennessee. There are not a lot of fancy restaurants or clubs in the town of just over 2,000 residents, but they do have the Turney Center Industrial Complex, a medium level security prison.
In last year’s Democratic primary for the Tennessee House District 28 seat, Brandon Woodruff came in a respectable third with about 16 percent of the vote. The former candidate did not fare nearly as well in a recent encounter with the Chattanooga Police Department.