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TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2007
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Second suspect faces charges in Operation Rx drug probe

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

MOULTON — Another drug dealer faces charges because of Operation Rx, a multi-agency initiative to decrease drug-related crimes in Lawrence County, said police.

Johnny Stricklin, 33, of 322 Lawrence County 447, Moulton, turned himself in to the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department on Monday after the district attorney's office indicted him on distribution of marijuana.

According to Lawrence County Drug Task Force agent Amard Martin, officers have been investigating Stricklin for several months and pressed charges after Stricklin allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover narcotics agent.

The drug-ring investigation also included James Key, 67, of 1021 Main Street, Moulton, who was arrested Friday night by officers with the Moulton Police Department, Lawrence County Drug Task Force and the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department.

Key, who allegedly sold hydrocodone pills and marijuana to an undercover officer, faces charges of trafficking marijuana and four counts of unlawful distribution.

Police arrested Key and Stricklin on Oct. 20, 2006, dur-ing a drug raid on Key's home.

When police arrived, Stricklin was allegedly making a drug deal in the front yard and bolted as soon as he saw officers approaching.

As he attempted to flee, he threw five pounds of marijuana on the ground, said police.

For that offense, police charged Stricklin with trafficking in marijuana and possession of a controlled substance.

The Lawrence County Jail released Stricklin on Monday on $110,000 bond and released Key on Saturday on $130,000.

Operation Rx was initially intended to target illegal sales of prescription drugs but expanded after agents uncovered more crimes involving cocaine, marijuana and other illegal substances, said Martin.

He said the arrests of Key and Stricklin will help to decrease the flow of drugs into the county.

"These are top dogs in this operation," he said. "I think we've definitely put a dent in it for right now."

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