Berea Pharmacist Found Guilty of Illegally Dispensing Hundreds of Thousands of Prescription Pills and Thousands of Boxes of Pseudoephedrine and Money Laundering
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A Berea pharmacist, Lonnie Hubbard, age 41, has been convicted by a federal jury of 71 counts, including fifty-six drug counts, involving the illegal dispensing of controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and dispensing pseudoephedrine knowing it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine; maintaining a drug involved premises; twelve counts of money laundering; and two conspiracy charges.
The jury returned the guilty verdict after approximately three hours of deliberation, following eight days of trial.
“This case sends a strong message to medical professionals who dispense controlled substances: failure to exercise reasonable professional judgment, by consistently ignoring suspicious behavior, will not be tolerated,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier, IV. “Mr. Hubbard failed to exercise his professional responsibility and the result was an enormous amount of prescription pain pills and methamphetamine precursors being made available for illicit purposes. The great work of our law enforcement partners in this case is critical to our fight against the drug epidemic.”
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2010 until 2015, Hubbard, who owned RX Discount Pharmacy in Berea, sold prescription pain pills, without a legitimate medical purpose, and sold pseudoephedrine, knowing or having reason to believe that it was being used to manufacture methamphetamine. Many of the people Hubbard sold to were addicts and drug traffickers from Madison, Rockcastle, Laurel, Clay and other counties in central and eastern Kentucky.
The evidence further established that many of Hubbard’s customers visited pain clinics in Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia, to obtain illegitimate prescriptions from irreputable clinics. Hubbard would charge $600 to $1,000 to fill a cocktail of prescriptions, which included excessive amounts of oxycodone. According to trial testimony Hubbard also sold multiple boxes of pseudoephedrine at a time, at excessive prices, to drug addicts and traffickers. From 2013 to 2015, Hubbard’s pharmacy was the number one independent pharmacy retailer of Pseudoephedrine in Kentucky.
Those who obtained drugs at Hubbard’s pharmacy testified that RX Discount was one of the only places in Kentucky that would fill their out of state prescriptions for pain medication.
More than twenty doctors from Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, who wrote the illegal prescriptions related to this case, have either surrendered their medical license, been indicted, or are currently under investigation.
The evidence also revealed that Hubbard made approximately $2.2 million in cash from the illegal drug sales and used that money to buy three residences, a boat, and several luxury vehicles.
Hubbard’s wife, Meggan, was sentenced earlier this month for her involvement in purchases of property that came from the unlawful sales of the prescription drugs and pseudoephedrine; she received a sentence of five months’ imprisonment, to be followed by five months’ home detention. Three other co-defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced.
Hubbard is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6th. He faces a maximum of twenty years on the conspiracy offenses; twenty years on the charges of unlawful distribution of pseudoephedrine; twenty years on the unlawful distribution of controlled substances counts, except Count 15; and 10 years on the individual money laundering counts.
Acting U.S. Attorney Shier; Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration; and Tracey D. Montaño, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation Division jointly announced the conviction.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA, IRS, USDA, Kentucky Board of Pharmacy, Inspector General for the Cabinet of Health and Family Services, Berea Police Department, Mt. Vernon Police Department, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, and the Appalachian HIDTA. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ron Walker, Katherine Crytzer, and Lauren Bradley.