Mother, daughter among 23 arrested in Caroline County drug sweep

Posted at 12:26 AM, Mar 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-14 08:37:39-04

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Dozens were arrested, including a mother and her own daughter, during a massive drug sweep Thursday morning.

Investigators say what many of them were caught selling is probably for sale in your neighborhood – prescription pills.

It’s what the experts are calling the fastest-growing form of substance abuse in the country.

While police may be in the area frequently, there was certainly a coordinated effort rolling into the gated community "Lake Caroline" early Thursday morning. Deputies rounded up targets from a year-long undercover operation called "Operation Sunrise."

"It's an up and coming problem for a lot of communities in central Virginia, that's why we target it,” said Scott Moser with the Caroline County Sheriff's Department.

The tri-county task force is not just going after those dealing cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and heroin but also focusing on those distributing and illegally possessing prescription pain killers

"People don't realize how important it is to get rid of these drugs,” Moser said. People get addicted and it causes break-ins, it leads to people getting hooked and selling to keep up with their habit.”

That domino effect is what caused undercover narcotics officers to arrest a mother, daughter duo.

Rachel Thomas, age 51, and her daughter Loretta Thomas, age 33, were both arrested and charged with distribution of prescription pills.

Five others were also charged with either distribution or possession

Twenty-three people were arrested and seven face felony charges that deal with prescription pills

It’s something Lake Caroline neighbor David Nelson says he could see coming.

"Why shouldn't it happen here, happens everywhere else?”

“I’m really not too surprised."

Caroline County investigators expect more arrests to be made.

According to a Trust for America’s Health survey, 6.1 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2012.