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April 12, 2007 Issue

Illegal prescriptions land doctor in jail
Arsonists also charged with burglary
Training should help area fire fighters save lives at wrecks

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Illegal prescriptions land doctor in jail

• DEA agents search Dr. I.W. Yun's home and office as well as files from pharmacy located next door to office

By Parish Howard
Publisher

A two-and-a-half-year investigation reached its crescendo Tuesday morning when a long-established Wrens doctor was charged with illegally providing prescriptions to patients who had no appropriate medical conditions to warrant the drugs.

Drug Enforcement Agency investigators, in conjunction with several local agencies, served search warrants around 9 a.m. at the Wrens office and home of 69-year-old Dr. In Wahn Yun and at the next door pharmacy, Wrens Drug, where investigators say many of the prescriptions were filled.

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“Our primary target here is the doctor,” Sheriff Gary Hutchins said Tuesday. “We believe that the majority of the prescriptions were being filled next door, but we are not charging him with anything at this time.”

The investigation, which actually began around four years ago but was taken on by DEA more recently, began at the behest of local citizens.

“They came to us because they were concerned about their family members who they claimed were going to Dr. Yun and getting prescriptions for drugs when they knew their loved one didn’t need them,” Hutchins said.

While investigators refused to reveal what specific medications, other than hydrocodone, were involved, they did say that they were mostly schedule two and three drugs.

“The investigation is on-going, but there appears that very few receipts where given to patients,” one investigator for the Sheriff’s Office said. “It appears a lot of business was done on a cash basis.”

The investigator later said that hydrocodone pills, on the street, go for between $10 and $25 per pill and that sometimes the pills are traded for small amounts of crack cocaine. He went on to say that he believes the majority of abusers of these pills in the area are between the ages of 18 and 25.

Investigators spent much of Tuesday reviewing records at Yun’s home and office and prescription records written by the doctor at the next-door pharmacy.

Over the course of the investigation, the Sheriff claims undercover DEA agents have recorded their visits to Dr. Yun’s office. An undercover agent made a visit there as recently as three months ago, he said.

Yun has been charged with eight counts of distributing and dispersing a legal drug illegally.

Each count is a felony and carries a possible five years and $25,000 in fines. In all, Dr. Yun faces 40 years and $200,000 in fines. He will also face charges for theft by receiving stolen property and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony, both involving a pistol discovered during the searches.

“This investigation is on-going and we encourage anyone who wants to come forward with additional information they feel would be helpful,” the Sheriff said.

Hutchins claimed Yun has practiced in Wrens nearly 30 years.



Arsonists also charged with burglary

• Bond on trio of suspects raised to at least $100,000 each

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

An additional 17 warrants have been filed against a trio already charged with arson, according to a spokesman with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

On Friday, April 6, five arson in the second degree charges were filed against Anthony Carl Hobbs, 19, of Matthews; Brandon Atkinson, 22, of Blythe; and Tara Renee Norton, 18, also of Blythe, the spokesman said.

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Additionally, Atkinson and Norton have been charged with burglary in an incident that occurred March 5 where some jewelry was taken.

“The victim said it was in excess of $1,000,” the spokesman said. Most of the items should be recovered from pawn shops, he said.

There are also at least three counts of arson in the second degree charges pending against each of the suspects in Burke County.

Second degree arson is punishable by a fine of not more than $25,000 or by imprisonment of at least one year but not more than 10 or by both a fine and imprisonment, the spokesman said. First degree arson carries a fine of not more than $50,000 or imprisonment of one to 20 years or both imprisonment and a fine. The burglary charge carries a possible sentence of between one to 20 years, he said.

Bond has been increased to $110,000 for Atkinson, $110,000 for Norton and $100,000 for Hobbs.

Atkinson and Norton have a higher bond because of the burglary charge, the spokesman said.

Each suspect’s bond is a property bond. As of press time, none of the three had posted bond.



Training should help area fire fighters save lives at wrecks

• New techniques and procedures help fire fighters safely remove victims from vehicles more efficiently

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Firefighters from various departments within Jefferson County attended training in Bartow March 24 and 25.

The training was to familiarize personnel with the use of a recently acquired extraction tool and to gain certification.

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The device, which cost $7,500, was purchased by the Bartow Fire Department in November, 2006.

The training was put on by Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency, said Lamar Baxley, the county’s EMA director.

Baxley said the training was paid for through the state and personnel from the Bartow, Wadley, Wrens and Louisville fire departments attended.

Cars were donated, he said, and the instructors were paid by the training office of the Georgia Fire Academy.

“It (the training) is a requirement in order to be certified to do rescue,”

Baxley said. “Bartow recently received a new rescue tool and they’ve got their personnel certified. All of them completed the course. All of them received a certificate.”

Baxley said the training showed the firefighters the proper procedures for extricating people from vehicles.

This included removing windows, cutting doors and the proper use of hand tools and power tools.

The focus of the training is to allow the firefighters to remove trapped persons from vehicles as safely and as quickly as possible without causing further harm or damage, he said.

Chip Evans, the assistant fire chief of Bartow, said the rescue tool is commonly called the Jaws of Life.

“We found out a whole lot of new techniques,” he said. “We’ve always had to use Louisville’s or Wadley’s.

We had someone make a large contribution and we were able to buy one.”

Evans added the department also held some fundraisers.




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