ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – A Wise, Va. dentist has admitted to obtaining hydrocodone by fraud and to illegally distributing over 2,500 hydrocodone pills.
Newton Carroll Mullins, 65, of Wise, Va., who operates a dental practice in Wise, Virginia, waived his right to be indicted this morning and pled guilty to a two-count Information charging him with one count of possession with the intent to distribute and distributing hydrocodone and one count of obtaining hydrocodone by fraud.
“The abuse of prescription drugs continues to plague communities in Southwest Virginia and across the country,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “The problem impacts all levels of society and destroys communities. Long-term abuse of prescription drugs often leads to the other opioids like heroin. We must attack this problem with a comprehensive approach which combines enforcement with prevention and treatment.”
Today in District Court, Mullins admitted that between December 2012 and March 2014 he ordered 7400 hydrocodone pills from a drug distributor for use by his dental practice. However, Mullins instead used the hydrocodone for his personal use and the use of his then girlfriend. In addition, Mullins admitted to writing prescriptions for hydrocodone to his employees, who would fill the prescriptions and provide the drugs to Mullins.
At sentencing, Mullins faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for count one and a maximum possible penalty of up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for count two.
The investigation of the case was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad (“TDS”), and included the assistance of the Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General. The Virginia State Police assisted the TDS with the execution of a search warrant of Dr. Mullins’ practice on April 23, 2014. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer is prosecuting the case for the United States.