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Jail nurse arrested over drug scheme

LOUISBURG -- Authorities arrested a Franklin County woman accused of abusing her position as a jail nurse to illegally get her hands on drugs.

A joint investigation by the sheriff's office and the state Bureau of Investigation revealed that Tamsey Watkins was ordering prescription medications in the name of inmates who were no longer in custody at the Franklin County Jail.

Watkins works with Southern Health Partners, a company that provides contracted service to correctional facilities, including the Franklin County Jail.

"We're still investigating the matter and part of the investigation will be to determine what happened to the medications and who else may be involved," said Franklin County Sheriff's Office Chief of Staff Terry Wright.

The medicine in question, Wright said, was oxycodone -- an opioid pain medication.

According to authorities, the sheriff's office initiated the investigation after personnel reviewed and became suspicious of invoices for prescription medications they allege were ordered by Watkins for inmates.

An examination of the invoices determined that prescriptions were ordered for inmates that were no longer in the custody of the Franklin County Detention Center.

As a result, Watkins, 37, was arrested and charged with 25 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or forgery, and 50 counts of felony trafficking opium/heroin.

She is being held in the Franklin County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond.

She is next slated to appear in Franklin County District Court on March 27.

Wright said efforts are underway to prevent similar problems in the future.

"We are in discussions with the company to strengthen monitoring and oversight," Wright said.

The investigation is ongoing.


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