Michigan doctor accused of helping supply pain pills to Kentucky addicts

A Michigan doctor allegedly conspired with several other people to send thousands of pain pills to Eastern Kentucky, according to a news release and court records.

A federal grand jury indicted the doctor, Anthony Jungho Choe, on Aug. 23, but the document was sealed until earlier this week.

Federal agents arrested Choe, 45, of Chelsea, Mich., at his office on Wednesday, Operation UNITE said in a news release issued Friday.

Two of his patients, Clarence D. Bentley, 47, and his wife, 46-year-old Kelly Bentley, of Albion, Mich., were arrested Thursday. They were indicted with Choe.

Choe allegedly wrote prescriptions for large amounts of pain pills, which the Bentleys delivered to Pike County to be sold, said Dan Smoot, vice president of Operation UNITE.

Police believe about four other people who have not yet been identified also helped deliver drugs to dealers in Eastern Kentucky, according to the news release.

Choe is charged with taking part in the conspiracy from November 2009 to August.

The investigation grew from street-level undercover buys by UNITE detectives, according to the news release.

The case is related to earlier charges against a Pike County man named Donnie Kinder, according to a court document.

Kinder pleaded guilty this year to distributing more than 63,000 pills between May 2010 and October 2011, when he was arrested.

He was charged with Janice Branham and Brenda Branham, who allegedly brought him pills from Michigan. Charges against the two are pending.

Kinder said he bought 30-milligram pain pills from the Branhams for $20 apiece and sold them for $35 each, according to a court document.

He was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison.