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Police recover thousands of pills in painkiller bust

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Amanda Rhea Whitsett

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John Frederick Johnson III

Strasburg pair also charged in armed robbery

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- Two town residents are being held without bond in the Shenandoah County Jail after police seized thousands of oxycodone pills from their apartment.

They also have been charged with the armed robbery of a pharmacy in Fairfax, according to a news release from Strasburg Police Chief Tim Sutherly.

John Frederick Johnson III, 25, and Amanda Rhea Whitsett, 25, both of 845 Colley Block Road, No. 7, were charged by Strasburg police with possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone, and by Fairfax County police with the April 26 armed robbery of a Walgreens drugstore, according to the release.

The two were arrested Friday and their apartment was searched. They did not resist, Sutherly said, adding that Whitsett is pregnant.

"They stole quite a bit, probably over 2,000 [oxycodone pills]," Sutherly said. "They were planning on making $18,000 on that."

The powerful painkiller, also known by the brand name OxyContin, fetches about $1 per milligram on the street, he said.

Police found a BB gun resembling a 9 mm handgun and thought to have been used in the robbery, according to the release.

Several hundred pills, a three-page list of oxycodone prices, $329 in cash and a laptop computer also were seized in the raid, according to a search warrant inventory filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

An affidavit for the search warrant says that a Fairfax County police detective met on Thursday with a confidential informant who claimed to have bought oxycodone from Whitsett and Johnson within the past week.

"[The informant] further observed thousands of oxycodone pills and capsules still left at the residence," the affidavit says.

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