By Steve Birr
Authorities arrested a 75-year-old woman known as “Kingpin Granny,” for operating a drug distribution scheme from her home in Tennessee.
Officers with the Decatur County Sheriff Department in Decaturville announced the bust Wednesday, charging 75-year-old Betty J. Jordan with six felony narcotics counts for running the operation. Police seized more than 1,000 prescription pills, including morphine, oxycodone and Xanax, reports FOX 59.
Authorities executed a search warrant at Jordan’s home Friday, arresting and booking the “Kingpin Grandma” at Decatur County Detention Center. She was subsequently released after posting her $50,000 bond.
Officials say their investigation into the drug operation is not limited to Jordan and expect more arrests. It is unclear when the investigation was launched and how police were initially tipped off to the activities of the “Kingpin Grandma.”
The opioid epidemic is ravaging Tennessee and is directly linked to prescription painkillers. There are more prescriptions for opioids in the state than there are people, highlighting the high rates of addiction in Tennessee. The heroin overdose death rate across the state spiked 43.5 percent between 2014 and 2015.
The rate of deaths from drug overdoses jumped another 12 percent in Tennessee in 2016, killing more than 1,600 people.
Nationally, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid overdoses made up a staggering 66 percent of all drug overdose deaths in 2016, surpassing the annual number of lives lost to breast cancer.