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Jury in Tennessee convicts 4 for operating ‘pill mills’

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Federal prosecutors say four people have been convicted in a Tennessee federal court of illegally distributing more than 11 million prescription opioid pills

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —
Four people have been convicted in a Tennessee federal court of illegally distributing more than 11 million prescription opioid pills from four clinics, federal prosecutors said Friday.

After a three-month trial, a jury in Knoxville convicted Sylvia Hofstetter, 55, of racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, money laundering, and maintaining a building where drugs are involved, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release.

Courtney Newman, 44, Cynthia Clemons, 47, and Holli Womack, 46, were also convicted of maintaining drug-involved premises, prosecutors said.

The drug conspiracy involved clinics in the Knoxville area, where millions of tablets of oxycodone, oxymorphone and morphine generated more than $21 million of clinic revenue, with a corresponding street value of $360 million, prosecutors said.

All three drugs are opioids, a class of drugs linked to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000.

Hofstetter, of Miami, worked at a so-called “pill mill” in Hollywood, Florida, which was raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration in December 2010, according to testimony presented at trial. The other three defendants are from Knoxville.

All four defendants face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced later this year.

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