499 methadone pills found in mail, two locals arrested

Prescription pills often used to treat heroin addiction

Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009

A 38-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman were arrested Friday on felony drug charges after a package bound for them was intercepted by the United States Postal Inspection Service containing 499 methadone pills, the Juneau Police Department reported.

Jonathan J. Stein and Sherrilyn N. Morrow, both Juneau residents, were each charged with two felony drug counts and face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Both were lodged in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center and are being held without bail.

"(Methadone pills) are an opium-based pill and they're typically used to treat people that have heroin addictions, but the pills themselves are also very highly addictive," said Sgt. Dave Campbell, police spokesman. "We have dealt with methadone for recreational use here in town."

The postal inspection service alerted JPD on Wednesday that it had intercepted a package bound for Juneau containing 499 methadone pills. Methadone is a controlled substance that requires a prescription.

"So (the inspection service) removed the controlled substance from the package and replaced them with some fake pills," Campbell said.

Stein allegedly picked up the package with the fake pills Friday and returned to his residence. Police found him at his residence along with Morrow.

"When we entered the residence, Mr. Stein was in the process of trying to flush the fake pills down the toilet," Campbell said.

Methadone pills are rectangular and white, Campbell said. The 499 pills are being stored as evidence at JPD.

"When they were originally shipped the pills were placed inside over the counter pill bottles, which is not the way they would come from a pharmacy, obviously," Campbell said.

Campbell said he was unsure of the pills' street value. He said the package was sent from the Lower 48, but would not disclose its origin more specifically because providing the information could jeopardize further investigation.

Stein and Morrow have each been charged with one class A and one class B felony. Class A felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Class C felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison.

The investigation continues.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.

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