LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A London man and his wife will forfeit their home, more than $1 million and six cars that were purchased with proceeds from selling prescription drugs illegally through their Clay County pharmacies.
Manchester pharmacy owners Charles Terry and Melissa Tenhet filled prescriptions for customers with out a legitimate medical purpose, according to a press release from Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney.
Charles T. Tenhet, 63, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar sentenced Tenhet to 10 years in prison following the plea.
Melissa Tenhet, 50, was sentenced to 12 months and day in prison for her role in the conspiracy. She pled guilty on Monday.
“Mr. Tenhet, with the assistance of Mrs. Tenhet, used his professional license to engage in a massive drug trafficking conspiracy,” said Harvey in a press release Wednesday. “In so doing, he inflicted a great deal of pain on his community-one already hard hit by the scourge of prescription drug abuse. The punishment is well deserved. Those in the healing arts deserve special attention from law enforcement authorities when they choose to betray their professional duties in favor of the ill-gotten gains made from drug trafficking.”
Tenhet admitted he filled out-of-state prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone in exchange for cash for eastern Kentuckians who had traveled in groups to pain clinics in Georgia and Tennessee and returned to visit Charles Tenhet’s pharmacies – Community Drug and Medi-Center Drug.
Some customers drove as far as 600 miles to visit the clinics.
According to the plea agreement, Tenhet knew the visitors were potential drug traffickers and addicts. The plea agreement describes the Tenhets’ customers as being visibly high, lacking physical pain symptoms and appearing destitute and unemployed.
Melissa Tenhet worked as the office manager for Community Drug and admitted she directed co-workers to fill the prescriptions even when the workers questioned the legality of the prescriptions.
In addition to the home, cash and cars, the Tenhets will also forfeit numerous luxury watches and a plot of land. The total value of all the assets forfeited was approximately $3 million dollars.
Under federal law, both defendants will each have to serve at least 85 percent of their respective prison sentence.
Harvey U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of DEA, jointly announced the guilty pleas.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman represented the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case.