Rutherford County and federal investigators seized almost $1.3 million of illegal pills and a powder used to make Xanax on Monday, according to a news release.

Detectives seized more than 58,000 Xanax pills and one pound of pure Alprazolam powder during a search of two locations in the county. Authorities said the pills sell for about $5 each on the street.

Alprazolam powder, when mixed with binding agents, would produce around 200,000 dosage units of clandestine produced Xanax, according to the release.

The investigation determined the Xanax were not produced within a commercial lab, but rather in a clandestine laboratory for distribution on the black market.

“With clandestine labs, the dangers grow exponentially,” said Rutherford County Sheriff’s Narcotics Detective Sgt. Tony Hall in a news release. “The end user of the substance has no idea what substance or what quantity of controlled substance they are ingesting. Some earlier samples in a related case tested positive for fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.”

“What we are finding in illegal Xanax is that in 89 percent of the cases statewide, the deadly synthetic drug fentanyl is mixed into the pills,” said Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh in a news release. “We will continue in our efforts to fight to keep these drugs out of Rutherford County.”

Joseph Davis, 25, and Erica Dotson, 29, of Manson Pike, were charged with felony possession of Schedule IV drugs, maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. Davis was also charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Both could face additional charges.

The case began in January when a U.S. Postal inspector provided information to detectives about suspicious packages, believed to contain narcotics, being shipped out of Murfreesboro to multiple locations throughout the United States.

In February, packages allegedly shipped by Davis and Dotson were intercepted by law enforcement and federal search warrants were obtained by the postal inspector.

During a search of these packages, approximately 8,300 dosage units of Xanax were recovered with a street value of $41,500.

“This is a great example of how law enforcement partnerships work together to keep communities safe from criminal activity,” said U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge David M. McGinnis in a news release. “Together we will continue to be vigilant in disrupting criminal organizations who illegally utilize the U.S. Postal Service.”

Davis is being held on $100,000 bond and Dotson is being held on $75,000 bond at Rutherford County Adult Detention Center while awaiting court hearings.?

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