A former Philadelphia doctor has been sentenced to 48 months in prison for his role in a drug ring that imported tens of thousands of pain pills into Eastern Kentucky.
Randy Weiss, 55, also will be on home incarceration for a year after he gets out of federal prison; will be on supervised release for three years; and paid $50,000.
Weiss, who has already been jailed several months, was sentenced Thursday.
Weiss was one of two doctors charged as part of an Eastern Kentucky drug ring that authorities say illustrates a problem that has grown the last few years: people visiting doctors in other states to get pain-pill prescriptions, then bringing home the drugs to sell and abuse.
Kentucky residents have done that to avoid the scrutiny of the state's prescription-monitoring program.
The leader of the conspiracy in which Weiss pleaded guilty was Timothy Wayne Hall of Floyd County, who is in his late 40s.
Hall admitted running a scheme in which people from the Floyd County area went to doctors in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio to get prescriptions.
There were files on more than 140 Eastern Kentucky residents at the Philadelphia clinic where Weiss worked when police searched, Randy Hunter, a Kentucky State Police detective, has said.
Members of the drug ring also bought OxyContin pills illegally in Michigan, court documents say.
Hall acknowledged the drug ring brought in 200,000 pills over several years, according to court documents.
More than 20 people have pleaded guilty in the scheme. The investigation is continuing, said the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West.
Weiss said in his guilty plea that when he started working at the Urgent Care clinic in Philadelphia in mid-2005, he raised concerns about the high number of Kentucky residents coming in and the large amounts of methadone they were getting
But an Urgent Care had him consult with another company doctor, who said the prescriptions were OK, Weiss said.
Weiss eventually started cutting back on the prescriptions to Kentuckians. However, he pleaded guilty to improperly writing prescriptions for 11,000 methadone pills to Hall and others, who paid $500 cash for an office visit.
Pennsylvania regulators revoked Weiss's license.
A Cincinnati doctor, Lloyd Stanley Naramore, and a pharmacist there, Thomas Stark, also were charged in the case.
Stark has pleaded guilty. Naramore is scheduled for trial in October.