Ring Leaders of Prescription Drug Conspiracy Sentenced
AUG 24 -- Columbia, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles and Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Field Division (AFD) stated today, that Mellissa Ann Langley, age 29, of Greenville, and Barbara Strickland, age 47, of Travelers Rest , South Carolina, were sentenced yesterday in federal court in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for conspiracy to distribute prescription pain killers, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. United States District Judge Henry F. Floyd of Spartanburg sentenced Langley to 70 months imprisonment and Strickland to 40 months imprisonment.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Langley, along with Strickland and James Emrich (who has pled guilty but is awaiting sentencing), operated a ring where they obtained Roxicodone (schedule II controlled substance) and Lortabs (schedule III controlled substance) by fraud. The trio wrote false prescriptions on stolen prescription pads and also created prescriptions using the names and dates of birth of individuals appearing in “mug shot” magazines. Strickland, Langley, and Emrich recruited people addicted to prescription pain killers to pass the prescriptions and pick up the prescriptions. Langley or Strickland would often accompany the prescription passers to the pharmacy, wear a hearing amplifier, and wait to see if they could overhear the pharmacy staff questioning any of the fraudulent prescriptions. Once they obtained the pills from the fraudulent prescriptions, Langley and Strickland would sell them for a profit to other individuals addicted to the medication.
The case was investigated by agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney William J. Watkins, Jr. of the Greenville office handled the case.
DEA Atlanta’s SAC Benson encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.