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Man guilty of trading pills for sex

LONDON — A Laurel County man illegally gave pain pills to young women in return for sex, a federal jury ruled Friday.

The jury convicted Roy Lacy Cobb, 55, on all 10 charges he faced. U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove scheduled Cobb's sentencing for June 24.

The indictment against Cobb said he faces up to 40 years in prison on charges that he gave drugs to women under age 21, but his sentence will probably be less than that under sentencing guidelines.

Cobb's attorney, Derek G. Gordon of Lexington, said he had not calculated the potential sentence because Cobb had not considered pleading guilty.

Cobb will appeal the conviction, Gordon said.

The allegations against Cobb pointed up a grim side of drug addiction that some observers said has become increasingly common as the abuse of prescription drugs, particularly among younger women, has grown over the last decade.

"Unfortunately, the prostituting for pills is way, way too common," said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director for Operation UNITE, which investigates drug crimes in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. "It's a shame, but it's out there."

Cobb allegedly gave OxyContin pills to female addicts in exchange for sexual favors hundreds of times between mid-2005 and September 2008, when he was arrested.

Cobb was disabled as a result of a car wreck and had a prescription to get OxyContin, a powerful painkiller that is a favorite of addicts.

When police searched his home at Keavy last year, they found more than 30 empty pill bottles, but no pills, according to court documents.

Cobb sometimes had women expose their breasts to him to earn their first pills, but then had them perform oral sex on him or have intercourse with him to keep getting pills, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason D. Parman, told jurors.

Two of the women involved in the case were under 21 when Cobb started giving them OxyContin, the indictment said.

Cobb was charged with distributing pills that contained oxycodone — the drug in OxyContin and some other pills — to 10 women. Several testified against him.

Gordon argued that the witnesses were untrustworthy drug addicts with criminal records, and lied about their relationship with Cobb in order to get out of trouble.

One woman has a child by Cobb, who is married, and had fought with him over custody, Gordon said.

"These people cannot be believed," Gordon said.

The women told very similar stories about Cobb. Gordon suggested investigators coached them.

Parman, however, said it was clear the women told the truth about very embarrassing things.

Photos that police found on Cobb's cell phone of women exposing themselves or performing oral sex on a man corroborated the witnesses' testimony, Parman said.

It's true the women were addicts, but Cobb had a big hand in that, Parman told jurors.

"He uses his oxycodone as a weapon for his own sexual benefit," Parman said.