Greenville Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Prescription Painkillers
MAY 14 -- Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney William N. Nettles and Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, announced that Barbara Strickland, age 47, of Greenville, pled guilty in federal court to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. United States District Judge Henry F. Floyd of Spartanburg accepted the plea and will sentence Strickland at a later date.
Evidence established that since 2007, Strickland and her co-defendants Melissa Langley and James Emrich led a group that fraudulently obtained prescription painkillers Roxicodone and Lortab pills. The trio wrote false prescriptions on stolen prescription pads, often using names of individuals appearing in “mug shot” magazines. Strickland, Langley, and Emrich recruited addicts and accompanied them to area pharmacies to present the phony prescriptions. Once the pills were obtained, Strickland and her co-defendants gave a few to the recruited addicts and sold the rest to other individuals addicted to the drugs.
Investigators estimate that approximately 240,000 pills were illegally obtained by the group over the last three years.
Langley and Emrich pled guilty to the same conspiracy charge last month and are awaiting sentencing.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Strickland can receive is a fine of $1,000,000 and imprisonment for 20 years.
The case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Unit. Assistant United States Attorney William J. Watkins, Jr., of the Greenville office handled the case.
DEA Atlanta’s SAC Benson encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.