Warrants: Claxton couple allegedly bought 20 grams of heroin per day for resale

Timothy Duane Fritz

A husband and wife in Claxton allegedly told police officers during a narcotics-related search on Wednesday that they bought 20 grams of heroin per day for resale, and they had been selling the illegal drug for about six months, according to Anderson County court records.

Agents who searched the home on King Street with a warrant last week found a suspected fentanyl-heroin compound that weighed about 10 grams, according to court affidavits and Simon Byrne, director of the Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force.

The agents also found seven guns, suspected marijuana, drug paraphernalia that included baggies and scales, ammunition and magazines, and a large amount of cash, according to the affidavits, which were filed by CTF agent Perry Lewis.

The suspected heroin was in several bags, and it tested positive for a fentanyl compound, said the affidavits, which were filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge. The husband and wife, Timothy Duane Fritz, 48, and Atosha Leann Fritz, 41, said they got the heroin from an unknown man in Knoxville, according to Lewis.

The weapons found during the search on Wednesday included a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun, a Lorcin .22-caliber handgun, an Anderson AR15 rifle, a Taurus Curve .380 handgun, a Smith and Wesson .22 revolver, a Colt Police Positive .38 handgun, and an Escort Magnum 12-gauge shotgun, the affidavits said.

[Read more…]

Oak Ridge man charged with murder in drug death

Ronald Nicholas Bunch
Ronald Nicholas Bunch

An Oak Ridge man has been charged with second-degree murder in the drug-related death of another Oak Ridge man in February.

It could be the first time that anyone has been charged with murder, rather than homicide, for a drug-related fatality in Anderson County. There has been a previous case where a man was charged with and convicted of homicide in a drug overdose death.

The man who died on February 6 was Steven Douglas Scruggs, 34.

Indicted in his death was Ronald Nicholas Bunch, 28, of West Wadsworth Circle in Oak Ridge. Bunch’s indictment for second-degree murder on June 4 said he unlawfully and knowingly killed Scruggs through the unlawful distribution of a Schedule II controlled substance, and the drug caused Scruggs’ death. Second-degree murder is a Class A felony in Tennessee.

The charge of second-degree murder, part of a three-count indictment, doesn’t specifically say what drug killed Scruggs. But the second count of the indictment charged Bunch with possessing fentanyl, a Schedule II medication, for resale.

[Read more…]

Updated: Homicide charge in drug-related fatality could be a first in Anderson County

Troy Andrew Venable

Troy Andrew Venable


This story was last updated at 5:30 p.m.

The reckless homicide charge filed against an Oak Ridge man in a grand jury indictment after a drug-related fatality could be a first in Anderson County, a law enforcement official said.

Troy Andrew Venable, 29, was indicted in April on a reckless homicide charge in the death of Lauren Alexandra Fritts, 26.

Seventh Judicial District Attorney General Dave Clark said it is, as far as he knows, the first time in Anderson County that someone has been indicted on a homicide charge in a drug-related fatality. [Read more…]

KPD: Doctor arrested on drug, weapons charges after officers find pipes, pot, pills

Michael Lapaglia

Michael LaPaglia

Note: This story was last updated at 12:02 p.m.

An East Tennessee doctor with ties to Oak Ridge and Anderson County was arrested Tuesday morning at his Knoxville home on drug and weapons charges after officers allegedly found about 125 marijuana pipes and bongs, more than two pounds of high-grade marijuana, and pills and vials containing liquids commonly used in hospitals, with the medicines ranging from Valium and amphetamine to oxycodone, propofol, and morphine, authorities said.

The Knoxville Police Department arrested Michael A. LaPaglia, 42, after responding to a report of a domestic dispute at a home on Fox Cove Road about 11:46 p.m. Monday, spokesman Darrell DeBusk said. When police entered the home, they said they noticed a strong marijuana smell throughout the house. They also saw several Mason jars with marijuana residue as well as bongs, or water pipes used to smoke marijuana, according to a KPD statement. [Read more…]