DEC 18 (LONDON, Ky.) – A Manchester pharmacy owner and his wife will forfeit their home, more than a million dollars, and six cars that were proceeds or purchased with proceeds from a drug conspiracy. In that conspiracy, the pharmacy owner filled prescriptions for customers without a legitimate medical purpose.
Charles Terry Tenhet, 63, of London, Ky., pleaded guilty today to a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar sentenced Tenhet to 10 years in prison following the plea. Charles Tenhet's wife, Melissa Tenhet, 50, was sentenced to 12 months and day in prison for her role in the conspiracy. She pleaded guilty on Monday.
"Mr. Tenhet, with the assistance of Mrs. Tenhet, used his professional license to engage in a massive drug trafficking conspiracy," said U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey. "In so doing, he inflicted a great deal of pain on his community-one already hard hit by the scourge of prescription drug abuse. The punishment is well-deserved. Those in the healing arts deserve special attention from law enforcement authorities when they choose to betray their professional duties in favor of the ill-gotten gains made from drug trafficking."
Charles Tenhet admitted he filled out of state prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone in exchange for cash for eastern Kentuckians who had traveled in groups to pain clinics in Georgia and Tennessee and returned to visit Charles Tenhet's pharmacies: Community Drug and Medi-Center Drug. Some customers drove as far as 600 miles to visit the clinics.
According to the plea agreement, Tenhet knew the visitors were potential drug traffickers and addicts. The plea agreement describes the Tenhets' customers as being visibly high, lacking physical pain symptoms and appearing destitute and unemployed. Melissa Tenhet worked as the office manager for Community Drug and admitted she directed co-workers to fill the prescriptions even when the workers questioned the legality of the prescriptions.
The Tenhets agreed to forfeit approximately a million dollars in cash, six vehicles, numerous luxury watches and a plot of land, all of which the Tenhets obtained or used as part of the conspiracy. The total value of all the assets forfeited was approximately $3 million.
Under federal law, both defendants will each have to serve at least 85 percent of their respective prison sentence.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), jointly announced the guilty pleas.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman represented the U.S. Attorney's Office in this case.