The drug sells on the street for $125 to $150 an ounce.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Two women are facing criminal charges after being found with several bottles of the prescription cough syrup Tussionex, authorities said.
None of the medicine had been prescribed for them, though. Authorities said the women intended to sell the cough syrup.
"We have quite a bad problem with that in this area," said Tom Malone of the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force's pharmaceuticals division. "A lot of people really like that stuff."
Tammala Lashawn Fields, 26, of Crandall Avenue, Youngstown, and Khaliah Janae Green, 24, of Englewood, Calif., were indicted Thursday by a Mahoning County grand jury on one count each of possessing Tussionex.
The charge is a second-degree felony, which carries a mandatory prison sentence of two to eight years if they are convicted, said Assistant Prosecutor Dennis Sarisky.
Discovery: He said a Western Reserve Transit Authority bus driver overheard some passengers talking about drug transactions and alerted local authorities.
The suspects were arrested shortly after they got off the bus and into a car at the bus terminal downtown. Each carried a bag containing several bottles of the medicine, which they put into the trunk of their car, Sarisky said.
"They had a lot of bottles, and they were big bottles," Malone said. The medicine was in prescription bottles that were still sealed. The combined amount of medicine in both bags added up to 122 times more than the legal bulk amount.
Street value: Malone and Sarisky said the medicine generally sells on the street for between $125 and $150 per ounce. The women reportedly planned to sell it for $60 an ounce and were carrying between 165 and 200 ounces.
The bottles are believed to have been stolen, though no local pharmacies have reported such thefts, Sarisky said. He was not sure where they came from.
Malone said Tussionex is a highly potent cough syrup that contains the same active ingredient as Vicodin and other depressants, and its effect is similar to heroin.
Many pharmacies have stopped carrying it because of the problems they've had with receiving forged prescriptions from people who abuse it, he said.