DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- Similar to a story plot from the movie Fun With Dick and Jane, a Tennessee married couple had dreams of building a new home but needed $12,000 to start the construction. With nearly $8,000 on hand, they came up with a plan to, hopefully, double their money.
Law enforcement says that they made arrangements to travel to Daytona Beach and buy 800 illegal pills and then resell them for a profit. However, instead of a supplier with a bag of pills, Gary and Paula Hill found themselves face to face with agents from the Volusia Bureau of Investigation (VBI) Wednesday afternoon.
Through undercover investigative work, agents learned that the Hills had allegedly made a similar transaction in 2010 and were in the market to do so again. 41-year-old Gary Hill and 39-year-old Paula Hill allegedly made phone contact with who they thought was a supplier, but who was actually someone working undercover.
The Volusia Sheriff's Office says that they agreed to pay about $10 per 100mg pill for 800 morphine pills and anticipated being able to resell them for about $18 apiece. The undercover arranged to meet the Hills in the Volusia Mall parking lot in Daytona Beach at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. As soon as the couple arrived, VBI agents stopped them and took them into custody.
The husband and wife, from Maryville Tennessee, allegedly admitted to agents that they were using money recently obtained from a settlement to buy the pills. They had already pulled permits for the home construction and hoped to quickly double their settlement money through the pill sales. Agents found $7,778 in cash on the couple when they were arrested. They were booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach. Both were charged with attempted trafficking in dangerous drugs, which carries a $50,000 bond. Gary was also charged with unlawful use of a two way communications device.
VBI is a multi-agency task force that pools resources from 10 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to target mid- and upper-level narcotics traffickers as well as racketeering and organized crime. Participating agencies include the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Attorney’s General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, Daytona Beach Police Department, Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety, DeLand Police Department, Port Orange Police Department, New Smyrna Beach Police Department, the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. VBI also is part of the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, or HIDTA, which is a multi-agency task force established by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy to combat drug trafficking along the seven-county area hugging Central Florida’s I-4 corridor.