SALEM — The recent felony drug arrests of two women in their 60s is reflective of the pervasiveness of the prescription drug problem, one police official said.
“It is a bit unusual,” Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday. “Having two women in their early 60s selling prescription drugs like a street-level drug dealer was a little surprising to our detectives.”
Police believe all three people arrested over the past week had been dealing drugs for a while, he said.
One of the women, Theresa Moore, 61, of Salem, told police she worked as a nurse at a local nursing home. Given her employment, Patten said, police moved quickly to arrest her.
Police made just a single undercover buy from Moore before arresting her, he said. But, he added, they have reason to believe it was not a one-time thing for Moore.
When police arrested her, Moore pulled a prescription bottle out of her bra, he said. The bottle held 63 pills.
Police searched her apartment and found several empty prescription bottles, cash and more pills.
Moore faces a single felony charge of selling Oxycontin. She was released on $1,000 personal recognizance.
Police are still investigating whether Moore stole the pills from the nursing home or its residents, Patten said. The drugs seized included Oxycontin, Suboxone and Percocet “of varying strengths and medium quantities.”
In the other two cases, undercover officers made several buys from the suspects over a period of a month or two, he said.
“It was not a onetime thing,” Patten said. “Judging by the empty prescription bottles, cash, and bottle with 63 pills in it, it had been going on for a while.”
In a separate case, police made three undercover buys from 62-year-old Valerie Watson of Salem.
Watson made the sales from her home, police said, and charges against other individuals may be forthcoming.