A pill pushing Tennessee cop guilty of drug trafficking has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. The judge also fined 69-year-old Bobby Roy Justice $60,000. Justice plead guilty to the drug charge in May 2018. He was initially arrested in Pike County in 2014. He was found with oxycodone, oxymorphone and Xanax during a traffic stop.
The Tennessee cop was an elected constable in Jefferson County, Tn. until he resigned this year, after being indicted in January. He was also a volunteer sheriff’s deputy in Pike County for about 40 years.
Justice was charged with possessing drugs and conspiring to sell pain pills between 2009 and August 2014 after being found with the pills during the traffic stop. He admitted to police that he got the prescription pills in Florida and recruited people in Pike County to sell them. At the time, Florida’s laws on pain medication was less strict. Before the toughened laws, grabbing pills from Florida was a common practice. It was easier than getting the pills in Kentucky which used a prescription-monitoring system.
U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr issued a news release detailing the case involving the Tennessee cop. In the release he revealed Justice trafficked more than 90,000 oxycodone pills to the Pike County area in five years.
Justice’s attorney, Michael B. Fox, defended his client’s actions blaming it on injuries he received while working for the United Mine Workers of America and in construction. Doctors prescribed Justice a gross and negligent amount of pain medication which he became addicted to. One Ohio doctor prescribed Justice a staggering 600 pain pills a month in the early 2000s. That doctor’s license was later stripped over the pill mill operation.
Injuries and pain limited Justice’s ability to work, so he turned to selling some of his medication.
Chief U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell sentenced Justice on Sept. 10.
The Tennessee cop has been on the other side of the law before. He was indicted in 2003 for his role in a vote-buying case. That case received widespread attention because of some of the others involved, including former state Sen. John Doug Hays, a Democrat, and Ross Harris, a wealthy coal operator. Harris was accused of funnelling money to candidates through straw contributors. Hays was later convicted of mail fraud, but an appeals court overturned the conviction. Harris died of cancer after being convicted. The charges were dropped against Justice.
A detective testified that after the traffic stop that led to the drug charges against Justice years later, he told federal authorities “he was compensated $120,000 to ‘keep his mouth shut’ and not provide any information in a prior vote-buying conspiracy and prosecution against Ross Harris,” according to a court record