Washington County brothers arrested after drug raid

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com
Two Washington County brothers were arrested Thursday and charged with several drug-related offenses after a three-month-long investigation by agents from the First Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Donald S. Howard, 30, of 137 Horseshoe Circle, Lot 9A, Gray, was charged with possession of Schedule II narcotics (cocaine) for resale, possession of Scheduled VI narcotics (marijuana) for resale, possession of Schedule III narcotics (hydrocodone) for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Robert Howard, 35, of 282 Hunt Road, Jonesborough, was charged with three counts of sale of Schedule II narcotics (cocaine).
"There are also other charges pending and there may be more arrests," said Ken Phillips, director of the First Judicial DTF.
The two were arrested Thursday evening after officers of the Washington County Sheriff's Department, agents from the DTF and a K-9 unit from the Johnson City Police Department executed a search warrant at the residence of Donald Howard in Gray.
"The investigation was two-fold," said Phillips. "We were doing drug transactions in Johnson City at the place of employment of one of the men and at the residence."
Phillips stated that his agents had arranged and completed several drug purchases before the arrest warrants were issued on the two brothers. He said that some of the purchases had occurred at the residence on Horseshoe Circle while others had occurred at Donald Howard's place of employment. Agents of the DTF purchased cocaine and morphine from the two but no morphine was found at the residence during Thursday's raid.
During the search of the residence on Horseshoe Circle, several pounds of marijuana, an ounce of cocaine, a firearm, approximately $1,500 in cash and two vehicles were seized, according to Phillips.
During the search of the residence, the officers and agents also found numerous empty prescription medication bottles which had previously contained hydrocodone. Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal stated that the prescription bottles were the type sold in bulk to pharmacies.
According to both Graybeal and Phillips, officers and agents are interested in where the brothers had gotten the hydrocodone from. "We believe it was either the burglary of a drug store or drug stores or the armed robbery of a drug store," Phillips said.
Investigators are currently in the process of attempting to trace the prescription bottles by the lot numbers which are printed on them. "Most of the lot numbers had been removed but we did have a few and we should be able to track them down," Phillips said.
According to Phillips, the bottles come with lot numbers on them so that manufacturers can trace specific bottles to the pharmacy which they are sold to.
The brothers were being held in the Washington County Detention Center, Jonesborough, each with a bond set at $50,000. They were arraigned by video on Friday and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Washington County Sessions Court on Sept. 18.