CARTER COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The Drug Enforcement Agency has stepped in to help Tri-Cities investigators with what they’re calling the largest mushroom bust they’ve ever seen.
Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said his agency arrested John Paul Oliver on Friday. He’s accused of storing $125,000 worth of hallucinogenic mushrooms inside a storage unit at USA Storage on Sycamore Street.
Drug agents with the Carter County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Elizabethton Police Department also found 22 firearms and other drugs, including LSD, following their consent to search the storage unit. They then obtained a search warrant for Oliver’s apartment on Captain Avenue and where they said they found items used to make the mushrooms.
Janet Blevins has lived in her Elizabethton home across the street from USA Storage for over 30 years. She said the neighborhood is quiet and she’s on edge over what drug agents found in one of those storage units.
“I don’t want that stuff anywhere near me. I don’t want drugs anywhere near me,” Blevins said.
Elizabethton Police Department received that tip which lead their combined drug unit with the Carter County Sheriff’s Office to, “an extremely sizeable amount of mushroom, it was about 40 pounds,” Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said.
Sheriff Lunceford said while they were getting ready to search the unit, John Paul Oliver arrived on scene with a 14-year-old female juvenile. They were able to link Oliver to the unit. He was taken into custody on two counts of possession of a schedule 1 narcotic, and possession of a firearm during the commission or attempt to commit a dangerous felony.
“Had 22 different guns, pistols, rifles, shotguns,” Sheriff Lunceford said. He added that he does not yet know the relationship between Oliver and the juvenile.
Police also searched his Captain Avenue apartment where they found items used to make mushrooms.
Neighbor, Tammy Knoll lives across the street from Oliver and she’s alarmed.
“I’m going to be keeping the kids closer at home for sure,” Knoll said.
Sheriff Lunceford says his office isn’t familiar with John Oliver and the investigation isn’t over.
Sheriff Lunceford said a number of drugs found couldn’t even be used in 10 lifetimes even for personal use and they’re working to figure out Oliver’s venue.
“I’ve been at this 32 years and you combine it with the drug agents from the police department and the sheriff’s office, we’ve never saw that large of an amount of mushrooms in this area,” Sheriff Lunceford said.
He’s scheduled to appear in court on June 27. Authorities set Oliver’s bond at $30,000.
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