The Flower Garden florist shop in Nettleton was also an illegal pharmacy according to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. It owner, John Hall, was arrested Friday on several charges involving the illegal dispensing of drugs. Hall, 76, is a retired pharmacist, long a fixture in the southeast Lee County town.
According to John Dowdy, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Hall’s arrest was the culmination of a three-month investigation. The charges against the businessman are:
• Felony sale of Tapentadol
• Felony possession with intent to sell or distribute Soma
• Misdemeanor practicing medicine without a license.
Dowdy said in a press release that Hall could face additional charges. The drugs were found at the shop at 172 Young Avenue.
Tapentadol is an opioid pain medication; opioids are sometimes called narcotics. The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies Soma, also known as carisoprodol, as a Schedule IV Controlled Substance. Recreational users of carisoprodol usually seek its potentially heavy sedating and relaxant effects; it produces all the effects associated with barbiturates. Also, because of its effects on narcotics, it is often abused in conjunction with many opioid drugs and is not detected on standard drug testing screens. After being booked into the Lee County Jail about midday Friday, January 11, Hall was released a few hours later on $50,000 bond. According to the MDN release, those agents were assisted in the investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Unit, Mississippi Board of Pharmacy, North Mississippi Narcotics Unit and Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Contacted Wednesday morning at his shop, Hall said he didn’t wish to comment on the arrest at this point: “I will let them have their heyday,” he said of the arresting agencies. He also said he is not yet represented by an attorney.