A 69-year-old man from tiny Lumber City, Georgia didn’t realize he was up against an unbeatable foe in the form of the county sheriff, but understands it now as he faces significant prison time for running a rural operation dealing in stolen prescription medications and gambling.

A handmade sign posted in the yard of the house notifies customers that the “pill shop” is now officially out of business.

Arthur Alex Sirmans was arrested after a months-long investigation directed by Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson paid off with the discovery of thousands of pills, in addition to evidence of a gambling operation being run out of the squalid house in a remote area of the rural county.

“This investigation began after concerned citizens alerted me to unusual and suspicious activity in the area of the Sirman’s residence near Lumber City,” Sheriff Steverson wrote in the press release.

Numerous firearms, 15 slot machines and more than $10,000 in cash were also seized at the house.

Georgia is full of small rural counties that are home to small, sometimes poor populations and dwindling economic opportunities helping to fuel the opioid epidemic that plagues the nation, especially in communities like Telfair County.

A 25-year-old woman, Bethany Dawn Thompson, was also arrested and faces a charge of Conspiracy to Commit a Crime.

Sirman was charged with multiple counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute and distribute scheduled drugs, multiple counts of Possession of a Gambling Device, Possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Other charges are likely as the crime scene and evidence continue to be processed by law enforcement in the ongoing investigation and witness interviews are conducted.

Worse still for Sirman and Thompson, the home had a security system with surveillance video that is now in the hands of Sheriff Steverson for review.

Steverson praised not only the efforts of his department, but cited the citizens of the county for bringing the illegal operation to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office.

“This is one fine example of what a Citizen/Sheriff’s Office partnership can accomplish for our community. We can be proud of those Concerned Citizens for getting involved... If not for the actions taken by these private citizens and our law enforcement, untold thousands of pills would without a doubt continue flowing through this network.”

Additional arrests are also likely as the investigation continues.

More than 50,000 Americans overdosed and died in 2016 from the use of pain medications, including morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, tramadol and fentanyl.

 
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