New Details Released in Synthetic Drug Investigation

As three Hopkins County residents await their day in court on drug charges, we're learning more of what led to the charges in a major synthetic drug bust.

Josh Betar, Thomas Shelton, and Amber Babbs were arrested Tuesday night. Shelton and Babbs at a home on Coiltown Road near Nebo, and Betar in Madisonville. 17 pounds of synthetic drugs, valued at more than $40,000 was seized in the arrests.

The arrests happened at a time when sheriffs deputies say synthetic drugs are becoming a bigger problem in Hopkins County. The nearly 17 pounds of synthetics weren't the only thing investigators found during the searches.
“It's a pretty substantial arrest, and hopefully will keep others out of the area from selling synthetics as well,” says Maj. Will Coursey of the Hopkins Co. Sheriff’s Office.

According to court records, investigators found two kids, ages 8 months and 14 years old, in the home on Coiltown Road where Shelton and Babbs were living. Neighbors say they were only there for several weeks. Detectives found items used to make synthetic marijuana, and a very strong chemical odor inside. Shelton told authorities he was making the synthetic pot. Coursey says it's becoming a growing problem throughout the county.

”We've seen an increase in synthetic drugs in Hopkins County over the last several years. our patrol units are telling us they're running in to more drivers who are under the influence of synthetic drugs, and we're seeing it in an increasing number of our drug arrests," he says.

Detectives also traced a car leaving the home with 15 pounds of synthetics inside. Court records show a phone seized implicated Betar for brokering a deal for $5,000.
All three arrested in this case are scheduled to be back in court for preliminary hearings on March 10th.


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