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North Carolina doctor found guilty on federal drug charges

May 10, 2019

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a doctor has been found guilty on 861 counts of federal drug charges.

The U.S. Department of Justice says in a news release that Joel Smithers was convicted after a jury heard evidence that he “prescribed controlled substances to every patient in his practice.”

Investigators say Smithers ran a doctor’s office in Martinsville, Virginia, for two years, and his operation resulted in the distribution of more than 500,000 drugs, including fentanyl. According to the justice department, jurors determined that opioids the doctor prescribed to a woman from West Virginia caused her death.

Smithers was convicted on Thursday on counts of possessing drugs with the intent to distribute them, having a place for illegally distributing drugs and illegally prescribing drugs. He is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 16.

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