The arrests were announced Tuesday afternoon by Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director John Dowdy at a press conference in Jackson. The agencies say it is part of continuing efforts to combat the abuse of opioids and other controlled substances.
Dowdy said those arrested are:
• Cynthia Purvis, 53, of Corinth, a pharmacy technician and 20-year employee of a Corinth pharmacy. Purvis faces a charge of embezzlement of a controlled substance, the amphetamine Adderall. She was booked at the Alcorn County Jail and held under a $3,500 bond.
• Stephen Parker, 22, of Corinth, a pharmacy technician at a Corinth pharmacy and a pharmacy student. Parker faces a charge of embezzlement of a controlled substance, the opioid Norco. He was booked at the Alcorn County Jail and held under a $3,500 bond.
• Mitzi Ramsey, 45, of Golden, a registered nurse as well as director of nursing for a Tupelo assisted living facility. Ramsey faces a charge of embezzlement of a controlled substance, the opioid Hydrocodone. She was arrested at the Lee County Detention Center in Tupelo, booked and held under a $3,500 bond.
• Dr. Michael Baker, 55, of Rolling Fork, and his medical assistant, Brandy Collins, 36, of Yazoo City. Each faces a charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud involving Hycodan elixir, a cough medicine containing Hydrocodone. Baker and Collins, both employees of a Rolling Fork medical facility, were arrested in that city. Bond has been set at $5,000 each. Dr. Baker also has surrendered his medical license.
• Valerie Riddle, 39, of Aberdeen, a licensed practical nurse for an Itawamba County nursing home. Riddle faces a charge of embezzlement of a controlled substance, the opioid Norco. She was arrested at the Itawamba County Jail in Fulton, booked and held under a $3,500 bond.
“DEA has responded to this opioid epidemic, utilizing every enforcement, administrative and civil tool possible to go after the most egregious criminals who prey on the weak and facilitate addiction through the United States,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux. “In fact, more DEA agents are working on prescription drug diversion efforts than at any other time in our agency's history. Our partnership with MBN and the State of Mississippi is one of the best worldwide, and we will continue to enforce all the drug laws together.”