Special DEA Unit Opens Shop In Roanoke

Roanoke, VA - The Drug Enforcement Agency is sending additional manpower and other resources to south western Virginia to fight what's being called a "crisis" over prescription pill abuse.

That was the announcement Tuesday in Roanoke following the sentencing hearing of Dr. Linda Cheek.

Cheek, of Dublin, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for writing invalid prescriptions and an additional six months for violating her probation.

Cheek was on probation at the time for a MediCare fraud conviction, in the same courtroom, in 2008.

US Attorney Tim Heaphy says the DEA's new "Drug Diversion Squad" will be focusing specifically on prescription drug abuse.

"Let me emphasize that this DEA Tactical Diversion Squad is new. It's not simply a reorganization; taking agents away from other pressing enforcement challenges. This is a commitment of new agents and new resources," said US Attorney for the Western District, Tim Heaphy.

Based in Roanoke, the unit will form a task force that will focus on the region.

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