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Press Release

Goodwin Announces Guilty Plea From Mingo Pill Mill Operator

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that a Williamson woman has pleaded guilty in connection with her role in operating a Mingo County pill mill.  Myra Sue Miller, 49, of Williamson, Mingo County, W.Va., pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston to misusing a Drug Enforcement Administration registration number that did not belong to her.  Miller admitted that beginning on February 17, 2010 until February 19, 2010, she and other known individuals used the DEA registration number assigned to former Mingo County doctor William F. Ryckman to illegally distribute the painkiller hydrocodone, as well as the prescription drug alprazolam, also known as “Xanax.”

Miller was employed as the office manager at Ryckman’s principal medical practice formerly located in Williamson, W.Va.  Miller admitted that on February 17, 2010, she faxed several blank “doctors lists” from Ryckman’s Williamson office to Dr. Ryckman who, at the time, was at his Pennsylvania residence.

“This pill mill did enormous harm across a wide swath of our state and beyond,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “Every time we put a law-breaking doctor or clinic out of business, it’s a big step toward getting this problem under control.”

Ryckman previously admitted that he signed and faxed the list back to Miller and other known individuals who were at his Williamson office. Ryckman also previously admitted that under his authorization, the blank lists were then improperly used to prescribe controlled medications for individuals that he did not evaluate or see as patients.

Miller further admitted that during the scheme, she directed other known individuals to fill in the blank doctor’s list with information that included patients' names, dates of birth and prescription type, strength, and quantity.  The improperly authorized lists were then faxed to local pharmacies in order to be filled and dispensed. Miller also admitted that while Dr. Ryckman was absent from his Williamson office on February 18 and 19, 2010, she accepted cash fees from known individuals who arrived at the office and then directed them to one of at least two pharmacies located in Mingo County, W.Va., to obtain prescription painkillers that included hydrocodone and Xanax.

William Ryckman, 66, was previously sentenced in March 2012 to six months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for conspiracy to misuse his Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number.

Miller faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced on June 18, 2013 by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.    

The matter is being prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District. 
Assistant United States Attorney John Frail is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated January 7, 2015