Christopher Joel Hartwell

Christopher Joel Hartwell

Following a two year long investigation of the sale and distribution of steroids in Blount County, a man was arrested on related drug charges March 21.

Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong confirmed a 32-year-old Maryville man was charged on several counts following a search warrant executed by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force.

Christopher Joel Hartwell, 32, Mayapple Drive, Maryville, is being held at the Blount County Detention Facility on bonds totaling $106,000 on the following charges: two counts of delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance (steroids) in a Drug Free Zone, maintaining a dwelling for keeping and/or selling drugs, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and manufacture of a Schedule III controlled substance (steroids).

While other arrests have already been made, Berrong said this is significant due to the recovery of a pill press and the operation being within a Drug Free Zone.

Tennessee remains number two in the nation for prescription drug abuse. The recovery of a device that is capable of producing one “pill” every second of any kind is a success story for law enforcement and the community from which it is eliminated.

The Fifth Judicial Drug and Violent Crime Task Force is a cooperative effort of the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department, Alcoa Police Department, and the Attorney General’s Office.

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