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.
The opioid crisis has hit Tennessee particularly hard. In 2016, our state saw nearly 1,200 deaths caused by opioid overdoses. Our overdose rate is a staggering 18 deaths per 100,000 people—much higher than the national average of 13 deaths per 100,000 people.
Tennessee law enforcement agencies are determined to crack down on drug trafficking and sales in the state. As a result, people from all walks of life are getting arrested and charged with serious drug crimes.