A Louisville man and 10 others were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on Thursday and charged with conspiring to illegally sell millions of prescription pain killers in three states.
Neil Chapple, 37, of Louisville, was allegedly part of a scheme in which George Williams, 51, operated a purported health care business in Detroit that sold the drugs on the illegal street market.
Chapple and the others charged were part of "a conspiracy responsible for distributing millions of dosage units of addictive prescription drugs across southeast Michigan and as far away as Alabama and Kentucky," said Robert Corso, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Detroit Field Division.
In the alleged scheme, patients were paid $220 cash to visit a doctor and get prescriptions written in their names. The patients allegedly turned the prescriptions for drugs such as OxyContin over to employees of Williams' business, Quick Response Medical Professionals, who would fill them at cooperating pharmacies and sell the drugs illegally, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg of the Eastern District of Michigan.
The employees would then fraudulently bill Medicare for the unnecessary doctor visit and unnecessary medical tests. The business got Medicare payments of $480,000 in 2008.
Chapple's specific role was not made clear by the indictment Thursday, but it does say he possessed and intended to distribute 1,413 OxyContin pills in July and October.
If convicted, Chapple faces 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The drug-trafficking connection between Michigan and Kentucky isn't new. There have been a number of cases in which people have been charged with getting large numbers of pain pills in Michigan and selling them in Central and Eastern Kentucky.
Joseph Hall of Knott County pleaded guilty this year to buying more than 100,000 pain pills in Michigan between January 2006 and May 2008 and distributing them in Eastern Kentucky, according to a court document.
In another case, Timothy Wayne Hall of Floyd County, who is not related to Joseph Hall, admitted he and others working with him transported 150,000 OxyContin pills from Michigan to sell and abuse in Kentucky.