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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Kentucky

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Clay County Man Convicted In Overdose Death Case



Conviction First of its Kind in the Eastern District of Kentucky

LONDON, KY - A Clay County man has been convicted by a federal jury of illegally distributing prescription drugs that resulted in the death of another individual, Patty Smallwood.

Terry Smith, 54, was found guilty on Monday of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death. The jury also convicted Terry's wife, Gerry, of conspiring with Terry and others to distribute oxycodone. In addition, Terry Smith was found guilty on a charge of possession of firearms by a convicted felon. The jury returned the verdict after four hours of deliberation, following five days of trial.

Of all the convictions in overdose death cases, this is the first one in the Eastern District of Kentucky that occurred without an autopsy report being used as evidence.

"This is an important victory in the effort to hold drug dealers accountable for the carnage they cause in our communities,” said Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “Overdose deaths are an unfortunate, but all too common, consequence of illegal drug trafficking. Federal law imposes a heavy penalty on drug dealers who cause a death. Our office and our law enforcement partners intend to seek that penalty whenever the proof warrants, even in the absence of an autopsy. Drug dealers should take heed-they will pay a heavy price for their callous disregard for human life."

Evidence at trial established that on or about September 9, 2011, Terry Smith had sponsored Patty Smallwood and others to travel to an out-of-state pain clinic called Georgia Health Associates in Tucker, Georgia to obtain oxycodone pills. Upon their return, Smith then paid for them to fill these prescriptions at the Community Drug Pharmacy in Manchester, Ky. These individuals then gave the pills to Smith who kept a portion for himself and divided the rest among the people that had made the trip.

The evidence further showed that Patty Smallwood took a portion of her pills that night, went to bed, and never woke up. She was found dead the following morning by her live-in boyfriend. Although an autopsy was not performed, toxicology reports reflected that, along with smaller levels of several other drugs, Smallwood had four times the therapeutic level of oxycodone in her system. In support of its case, the United States offered the testimony of a forensic toxicologist, who offered his expert opinion concerning the levels of drugs present in Ms. Smallwood’s system. The toxicologist testified that the oxycodone use was the likely cause of Ms. Smallwood’s death.

Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Joseph P. Reagan, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration jointly announced the conviction.

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 15, 2015. Terry Smith faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for the overdose death offense. Gerry Smith faces a maximum of 20 years on the conspiracy offense. However, the court will carefully consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and federal statutes before imposing sentence.

Drug Trafficking
Updated June 18, 2015