By John Balch
Two Murfreesboro brothers have been charged with drug crimes after a Pike County inmate allegedly returned to the jail from a dental appointment under the influence of drugs.
Jonathan G. Rather, 30, and Joseph D. Rather, 33, have both been charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine with the purpose to deliver; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of a controlled substance. The brothers, who were arrested Sept. 11, were formally arraigned Monday and are to return to court in January for pretrial hearings.
An investigation began on Sept. 4 when the grandmother of county inmate Andrew Pipkins contacted the jail about taking her grandson to a prearranged out-of-town dental appointment. The grandmother, Janice Ward, told Sheriff Charlie Caldwell she would take Pipkins to the appointment, but his father, Eddie Wayne Pipkins, picked him up instead around 12:30 p.m.
Andrew Pipkins did not return to the jail until almost 7 p.m. and then exhibited signs of intoxication. A drug screen showed Pipkins tested positive for several drugs including methamphetamine and marijuana.
On Sept, 10, a cell search found Pipkins to be in possession of a glass container containing the prescription drug amitriptyline. Review of video surveillance determined Pipkins had allegedly hidden the container in his rectum and then retrieved it while inside the jail. Suspected marijuana was also later found concealed in his mattress.
When questioned, Pipkins said he got the prescription drug from his grandmother’s home the day of his dental appointment and that his positive test for methamphetamine and marijuana was “from stopping at the tire shop of Jonathan Rather” on his way back from the appointment. Pipkins told officials he consumed and obtained the drugs from Rather. He also said Rather was still in possession of drugs.
On Sept. 11, a search warrant was executed at the tire shop on East 13th Street and the Rather brothers were taken into custody. The search recovered numerous pills, items “consistent with the storage and distribution” of drugs, paraphernalia, digital scales, syringes, prescription medication in the name of Marilyn Walker and a black bag “full of cellphones, and surveillance devices to include a camera system and scanner.”
Joseph Rather claimed the pills found on his person and vehicle but denied knowledge of anything found in the search. Jonathan Rather denied all knowledge of all items found on the premises but “admitted to being the individual primarily in control of the property.”
The Rathers’ bond has been set at $25,000 each.