Man arrested may be part of area drug ring

Published 12:12 am Sunday, March 17, 2013

VIDALIA — A Vidalia man was arrested Friday in connection to a narcotics operation that was allegedly being run by employees of several pharmacies and doctor’s offices in three Louisiana parishes and Adams County.

Harry J. Ainsworth, 34, 8 East Circle Drive, Vidalia, was arrested on charges of four counts of obtaining possession of a controlled substance by fraud.

Concordia Narcotics Task Force Agent Chris Groh said Ainsworth is alleged to have been a frequent purchaser of pharmaceuticals illegally prescribed to him by Stephanie J. Whittington, who was arrested Tuesday on 65 drug-related charges.

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“Basically what was happening was Whittington, and possibly some of her co-workers at a doctor’s office, were falsely prescribing medication to themselves or other people,” Groh said. “They would then either pick up the medication themselves or let other people pick them up.”

Whittington, 31, 149 J.H. Hamilton Road, was charged with 17 counts of obtaining possession of a controlled substance by fraud and 48 counts of prescribing, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance.

Groh said the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office is currently working with law enforcement agencies in Catahoula and Ouachita parishes as well as Adams County to locate further suspects in the case.

“This is still an ongoing investigation and more arrests are likely to follow,” Groh said.

Ainsworth remained in jail Saturday evening on a $20,000 bond.

Whittington was released on a $65,000 bond.