Drug buys lead to 5 arrests

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2009

“Operation Spring Heat,” led by agents with the Alabama Beverage Control Board, has landed at least five Opp residents in hot water after they were caught allegedly performing illegal drug transactions.

Lt. Lance Price, of the ABC Board, said a series of undercover drug buys led to three arrests Monday and two others Tuesday.

Tuesday, agents arrested husband and wife Donnie Lee Kyser, 58, and Frances Kyser, 43, for allegedly selling their own prescribed medication.

“We bought prescription medicines from both of them,” Price said. “At this point it looks like it was the medicine from their own prescription, but we’re currently investigating it.”

Donnie Kyser is charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance and is being held on a $200,000 bond. His wife, Frances, is charged with two counts of the same charge and is being held on a $400,000 bond.

The operation also allegedly recorded 32-year-old Laquetta Gipps, 32-year-old Laquotos Edwards and 44-year-old Janice Stackhouse purchasing prescription drugs and other illegal substances from confidential informants, Price said. They were arrested for their alleged crimes Monday.

“Ms. Gipps and Ms. Stackhouse — we had prior cases on them,” he said. “Agents were able to run operations on them and had a confidential informant make purchases off of them.”

Price said Edwards was arrested in a separate incident after he approached another individual in an attempt to sell powdered cocaine.

“Once he saw the police, Edwards exited the area and was running through the housing project area (on Barton Street),” he said. “If not for the excellent police work of the Opp Police Department, agents with the Drug Task Force and this department, I think he would have gotten away.”

Edwards was apprehended a short time later and was taken into custody without further incident, Price said.

He is charged with distribution, tampering with physical evidence and resisting arrest and was booked into the Covington County Jail under a $206,000 bond.

Gipps is charged with three counts of distribution of a controlled substance and was held on a $450,000 bond.

Stackhouse faces charges of distribution of a controlled substance and intimidating a witness. She was booked into the county jail under a $350,000 bond.

“Operation Spring Heat” began in late April and is still ongoing. More arrests are expected in the coming days, Price said.

Assisting in the operation were OPD officers, DTF agents and the District Attorney’s office.

To report suspected drug use or illegal alcohol use, contact the ABC Board at its new number, 222-3200, or visit by its new location at 1801 Pioneer Dr., Andalusia, across from CDG Engineers.