10 Charged In Scott County Drug Ring Linked To HIV Epidemic

Ten people were indicted last week on drug charges in Scott County, U.S. District Attorney Josh Minkler said.

The announcement, made Friday afternoon, came hours after federal, state and local authorities broke up a Scott County drug ring, which authorities said dealt in methamphetamine and the prescription painkiller Opana.

“Scott County was targeted by an organization with the goal of infesting that community with drugs like prescription painkiller Opana and methamphetamine … This became an epidemic,” Minkler said.  Local, state and federal investigators cooperated in the investigation. “Today, I am pleased to announce that the organization has been dismantled but this is only a start; one aspect of a bigger solution,” Minkler said.

According to the federal prosecutor, Bennito ‘Benny’ Rodriguez, 38, and his wife, Brooklynn Mack, 29, both of Scottsburg, were leaders of the ring accused with supplying Opana and methamphetamine to Scott County residents. Drug Enforcement Administration officers in Indianapolis said, Rodriguez and Mack would get the drugs from sources in Louisville, Indianapolis and Detroit.

The remaining 8 indicted and on drug charges including conspiracy to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance:

  • Rashawn ‘Ray’ A. Vaughn, 41, of Louisville.
  • Eric L. Gude, 36, of Indianapolis.
  • Rashaan ‘Phil’ S. Perkins, 21, of Detroit.
  • Anthony L. Hardy, 39, of Indianapolis.
  • James D. Haney, 56, of Austin.
  • Justin ‘Booger’ M. Roberts, 38, of Austin.
  • Travis D. Brock, 34 of Scottsburg.
  • Michael A. Doyle, 38 of Scottsburg.

Seven of the 10 had been incarcerated in Scott County Jail by Friday. All were remanded into federal custody in Indianapolis Friday evening where they remain incarcerated with no bond.

Defendants in the case could face 10 years to life in prison if convicted, authorities said.

Law enforcement officials said Opana typically sells for up to $160 per pill and can be dissolved and injected by up to four people.

Nearby Austin in Scott County was the epicenter of a public health crisis last year, when the number of people diagnosed HIV positive rose to more than 150. Officials tied the outbreak to Opana, and needle sharing among drug users. According to authorities, Scott County has seen 188 cases of HIV in the last 13 months.

The outbreak brought national attention to Scott County. and sparked action from counties and cities in the region. Both Scott and Clark Counties gained approval for a needle exchange program and both counties received a state grant to help pay for first responders to carry a nasal heroin overdose antidote.

“This should be an indication to drug dealers throughout the county that our law enforcement agencies are working together to get drugs off our streets,” Scott County Sheriff Dan McClain said.