SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Drug agents in Sumner County arrested a man who is accused of making fake pills and selling them.
Authorities said customer’s paid top dollar for the counterfeit drugs before Michael Scarbro was busted on June 13.
“We did some control buys purchasing heroin,” explained an agent with the 18th Judicial Drug Task Force.
During the raid two weeks ago, agents wore protective suits to protect themselves from the potentially lethal effects of fentanyl, a powerful drug the 38-year-old man claims he puts in every pill he makes.
No fentanyl was ever found at the scene, but agents did find marijuana, fake money and a handgun.
“He had heroin wrapped up in this dollar bill and we believe this is heroin in these capsules,” the agent explained. “He was selling drugs to keep his lifestyle going and he was a heroin addict.”
According to investigators, Scarbor used a pill press and a micro-crystalline powder that is easily bought on the internet to create any style and color pill he wanted.
Scarbor would then allegedly fill the pill he made with crushed vitamins.
“See the yellow powder here? It is what he was making,” the agent explained.
When finished with the process, investigators said Scarbor sold his drugless product as high-priced pills to unknowing customers.
Agents said many of Scarbor’s customers came back multiple times and paid between $20 and $40 for a single pill.
“He kept calling it a placebo effect. They thought what they were buying was real and they would come back and get more,” the agent said.
Agents said buyers knew Scarbor was pressing his own pills, but they didn’t know he was filling them with non-drug like substances.
“[It was] just vitamins, selling it as a narcotic,” the agent said. “He was making money off of people’s ignorance.”
Scarbro has previously done time for drugs and criminal simulation.
He was released from prison in 2014.
He is now charged with sale of Schedule I heroin, possession of counterfeit of controlled substance for resale, felony drug paraphernalia, manufacture of counterfeit contraband substance, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, possession of marijuana for resale and possession of heroin for resale.