Published: Apr 29, 2011 11:08 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 29, 2011 8:08 PM EDT

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.- Charlotte County Sheriff's Narcotics detectives arrested six people from Sweetwater, Tennessee, on drug charges on Tuesday. They came to Florida to see a pain management doctor on the east coast and purchased prescription drugs in Port Charlotte. After observing traffic violations at U.S.41 and S.R. 776 in Murdock, traffic stops were made on a Hyundai Santa Fe and a Toyota Celica.

Driver of the Hyundai was Elmer Lee Carter, 57; his wife Karen Sue Carter, 52, and their 34-year-old son, Brian Lee Carter. Detectives found marijuana in their vehicle and charged them with Possession of Marijuana. Also found were pill bottles with prescriptions for all three in the vehicle that included Alprazolam, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Hydroco/Apa and other controlled medications. The Carter’s told detectives they drive to Florida every month to see a pain management doctor and drive to pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. They said it was difficult for them to see a pain management doctor in Tennessee and drive to Florida monthly because the process was so much easier. They said they usually spend more than $1,500 in doctor visits and medication each trip.

Driver of the Toyota was 32-year-old Steven Avener Carter. All of the Carter’s have the same home address of 2871 Reed Spring Road in Sweetwater. His two passengers were Russell Brad Hutsell, 29, 715 S. Main St., and James Robert Smith, 26, 113 Glenlock Road. A search of the car resulted in Smith being charged with Possession of Opiates, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Steven Carter and Hutsell were both charged with Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Detectives said they found three prescription pill bags labeled with Thursday’s date from Gulf Coast Pharmacy on Olean Blvd., Port Charlotte. The names of Steven Carter, Smith and Hutsell were on the pill bottles that contained Hydrocodone, Alprazolam, and Oxycodone.

Detectives ask the Carter’s why they come to Charlotte County to get their prescription pills, all three stated that Gulf Coast Pharmacy always has what they need when they need it. Detectives said the pharmacy filled the prescriptions that were signed by doctors. Both vehicles were towed and the prescription drugs were placed into evidence at CCSO for safe keeping. All six remain in the Charlotte County Jail; Elmer and Brian Carter on $2,000 bond each, Karen Carter, $1,000 bond; Steven Carter $4,000, Hutsell $2,000 and Smith $4,500 bond.