Faith Blake, who operated Chattanooga pill mills with her mother, was sentenced Thursday to 44 years in federal prison and a $2.7 million fine.
Blake is the daughter of Barbara "Aunt Bea" Lang, who was sentenced in August to 280 years in federal prison for her role in multiple pill-mill conspiracies.
According to a news release. U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier imposed the sentence after Blake pleaded guilty to conspiracy in two drug rings.
Blake and Lang together owned Superior One Medical Clinic, and Blake alone owned Elite Care Medical Clinic. Blake also pleaded guilty to failing to appear after she jumped bond and disappeared for five months, finally being rearrested in Maryland.
Dr. Jerome Sherard, the medical director for Superior One and Elite Care, was sentenced to five years. Charles Larmore, a nurse practitioner who worked at Superior One and another Lang clinic, Primary Care, received a 13-year sentence.
Blake's clinics distributed nearly 1,000,000 Oxyycodone pills, which are typically sold on the street for $1 per milligram, to people from across the Southeastern United States.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Collier noted that prescription pill abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. He said Blake's sentence was intended to deter others from engaging in this illegal activity and to keep her from ever committing this type of crime in the future.
"The substantial sentences ordered for these individuals will act as a deterrent for others who may be considering the illegal selling of highly addictive opioids. The defendants' use of the medical training of others to effectuate this criminal scheme was particularly reprehensible. The public should be aware that federal law enforcement officials, in conjunction with the state and local authorities, are focusing on these illegal opioid transactions," U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said in the news release.