(Photo: Screen Grab via WCHSTV)
Respected Kentucky pastor of Holiness Tabernacle Church in Olive Hill, Scott Gilliam, shocked neighbors in his community last Friday when police arrested and charged him with being a kingpin in what investigators have billed the largest pill trafficking ring in that state's history.
Like chemistry teacher Walter White, the fictional lead character in AMC's cult classic series "Breaking Bad" whose alter ego was a ruthless and infamous methamphetamine producer, cops say they caught Gilliam, 42, in an investigation they aptly called: "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing."
"[He] pastored a church while he was engaging in a major drug trafficking organization [which] is pretty heinous," the lead detective of the state's FADE drug task force, who could not be identified for security reasons, told WCHS-TV.
Gilliam was arrested in Lewis County with Brandon Logan, 28, and they were both charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession with intent to distribute.
"Tens of thousands of pills that have a street value of $40 to $45 each. So you're talking [a] multi-million dollar trafficking organization," said the lead detective.
Detectives revealed that over a year, they intercepted thousands of pills across several states associated with the ring and highlighted that Gilliam used the church as a den for his illicit merchandise.
"Large quantity of pain pills. Oxycodone 30-milligram tablets from inside the church," said the lead detective. "It was a room that was located toward the rear of the church that was like a children's playroom. Pills were concealed inside the wall."
Neighbors say they were stunned by the revelation about Pastor Gilliam.
"I was shocked, because I live right here and I never see anyone go in or out of there," said Mike Newsome, who lives near the Holiness Tabernacle.
"I did know some of the people that went to church there. They'd stop and talk to me. They were all nice folks," he added.
Newsome said he didn't know Gilliam but another neighbor, who didn't want to be identified in the report, said he was a respected figure in the community.
"Nobody would ever dreamed this," the neighbor said. "It's just unbelievable, completely."