January 21, 2013

London couple set for federal trial

Operated Clay County pharmacies

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A London couple who allegedly sold prescription drugs illegally through their Clay County pharmacies are scheduled for a trial in U.S. District Court in March.

Charles Terry Tenhet, 61, and his wife, Melissa Tenhet, 49, are set for trial on March 4 in London on charges they filled out-of-state prescriptions at higher prices than were normally charged, changed prescriptions in order to distribute Oxycodone, and consorted with known drug dealers to provide drugs without a prescription.

The Tenhets, who reside in London but owned and operated two pharmacies in Clay County, were arrested last January and were subject to potential forfeiture of property last fall. Their home in Hemlock Falls Subdivision and personal property were considered to have been profits from their alleged illegal transactions by distributing prescription pills illegally.

The setup of the operation was through both Tenhet pharmacies — Community Drug and Medi Center — in which Community Drug was the center of filling prescriptions for out-of-state clients of a Georgia pain clinic. Evidence indicates many of the clinic’s clients were referred to Community Drug and that the out-of-state clients were required to pay cash and were charged excessively higher prices than Kentucky ones. One Kentucky pharmacist said Community Drug charged $1,300 cash for 180 Oxycodone pills of 30 milligrams and 120 of 15-milligram Oxycodone. The pharmacist compared the price of 120 of the 30-milligram pills as being around $43.

Charles Tenhet also reportedly told an employee at the pharmacy to change information in the two business’s computer before Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents came to investigate the Tenhets’ operations. Tenhet was reportedly taking Oxycodone pills from Medi Center’s stock due to running out at the Community Drug site. Other information indicates clients of Community Drug would line up outside the building before opening hours, causing alarm for some employees who began carrying guns to work.

Another source reported getting 60 Xanax pills for $20 from Melissa Tenhet, even though they did not have a prescription.

On Sept. 11, 2012, the Tenhets’ home at 300 Blackberry Lane was searched. Records from Community Drug and vehicles registered to it were seized as well nearly $450,000 in cash.

A complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office stated that the Tenhet residence was “represent proceeds of drug trafficking and were used to facilitate drug trafficking.”