Gussie Smith, a 77-year-old Lake County, Fla., pastor who was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly trafficking Oxycodone, was released from jail a day later on a $50,000 bond, reports WFTV.
Smith, who heads the Church of Jesus in the town of Omatilla, was part of a larger sting operation and the drug sweep is ongoing. Thus far, a total of 16 people have been arrested and the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are involved.
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Community members are incredulous of the fact that Smith, who has been pastor of her church for decades, could be embroiled in such a scandal. According to Smith’s family members, who are shaken up by their mother’s arrest, somewhat understand how she could have gotten caught up in the sting operation because she takes painkillers.
“She’s been hurt for years. She got hurt on her job…been taking pills,” said Smith’s daughter, Jessie Jones. “So why would they say she’s trafficking the drugs?” asked another relative Daralene Jones. “That’s what I want to know. I haven’t got all the information,” said Jessie.
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Oxycodone is an analgesic pain reliever but has the tendency to cause dependency. Although the medication is by prescription only, it is now the most-abused drug in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. It also belongs to a family of drugs known as opiates or opioids because they are chemically similar to opium. They include morphine, heroin, oxycodone, codeine, methadone, and hydromorphone.
Police investigators say that there are still two fugitives on the run with regards to the case and that no further facts will be released until further notice.