A Virginia doctor accused of running an illegal pill mill has been sentenced to serve a minimum of 20 years in federal prison, according to United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen.
Joel Smithers, a Martinsville-based doctor, was found guilty of 861 federal drug charges. The charges resulted from a nine-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.
The jury convicted Smithers on one count of maintaining a place for the purpose of illegally distributing controlled substances, one count of possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances, and 859 counts of illegally prescribing Schedule II controlled substances.
The jury also found that a prescription of oxycodone and oxymorphone, prescribed by Smithers, was the cause of a West Virginia woman’s death.
Evidence presented at trial showed a majority of patients receiving prescriptions from Smithers traveled hundreds of miles to get the drugs. Smithers took in over $700,000 in payments.
Smithers faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. He also faces a maximum fine of more than $200 million.