A Berea pharmacist was sentenced Friday to 30 years in federal prison after his conviction on 71 counts of conspiracy and aiding and abetting others in the illegal distribution of drugs.
Lonnie W. Hubbard was convicted by a federal jury in February on 56 charges involving the illegal dispensing of controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and dispensing pseudoephedrine with the knowledge that it would be used to make methamphetamine. He also was convicted on 12 counts of money laundering and two conspiracy charges.
In a related case, U.S. District Court entered a civil judgment for $4.4 million in favor of the United States and against Hubbard and his pharmacy that assessed civil penalties for illegally selling 100-count bottles of pseudoephedrine and failing to comply with laws governing those sales.
Hubbard operated Rx Discount Pharmacy of Berea. According to evidence at his trial, he sold prescription pain pills, and many of the people he sold to were addicts and drug traffickers in Madison, Rockcastle, Laurel, Clay and other counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky.
The evidence also established that many of Hubbard’s customers visited pain clinics in Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia to obtain illegitimate prescriptions from disreputable clinics. From 2013 to 2015, Hubbard’s pharmacy was the top-selling retailer of pseudoephedrine among all independent pharmacies in Kentucky.
People who bought drugs there testified that Rx Discount was one of the only places in Kentucky that would fill their out-of-state prescriptions for pain medicine.
The evidence also revealed that Hubbard made about $2.2 million in cash from the illegal drug sales and used that money to buy three homes, a boat and several luxury vehicles.
“He could have made a healthy living without engaging in criminal activity,” U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves said during the sentencing hearing. Instead, Reeves said, Hubbard is “the head of the snake” of Kentucky’s drug epidemic.
“He is one of the individuals Kentucky needs to guard against,” Reeves said. “At no point in these proceedings has he acknowledged his responsibility.”
The quantity and amount of drugs distributed were “quite astounding,” Reeves said.
The $4.4 million civil judgment is part of a settlement resolving a federal civil suit against Rx Discount. According to the government’s complaint, Rx Discount, acting through Hubbard, knowingly or recklessly sold at retail more than 1,000 100-count bottles of pseudoephedrine in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.
Furthermore, Rx Discount was not certified under the federal law to sell pseudoephedrine on particular dates.
Hubbard’s wife, Meggan, was sentenced in February for her involvement in purchases of property that came from the illegal sales of the prescription drugs. She was sentenced to five months in prison and five months of home detention. Three other co-defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced.