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Woman who helped run Columbus Co. ‘pill mill’ sentenced to prison

Woman charged in Tabor City pill mill, sentenced to 5 years in prison
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 2:42 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Bladen County woman who helped a former doctor operate a “pill mill” in Columbus County is heading to prison.

Tammy Lynn Thompson was sentenced Friday to 60 months in prison for unlawfully distributing oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and marijuana.

“The defendant helped to illegally distribute opioids, jeopardizing the safety of the community,” said Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “My office will continue to collaborate with law enforcement at all levels to dismantle criminal organizations that are contributing to the drug problems in eastern North Carolina.”

Thompson’s co-defendant, Jong Kim, pleaded guilty to multiple counts and was sentenced earlier this year to 78 months in prison.

“In 2017, Thompson helped Kim — who had previously been forced to resign from an area medical practice due to concerns over his opioid prescribing practices — to open his own clinic in Tabor City, NC,” a Department of Justice release states. “From October 2017 to June 28, 2018, Thompson helped Kim unlawfully and improperly prescribe opioids and other controlled substances by bringing in “patients” who paid $200 cash at each appointment. The investigation revealed that Kim wrote controlled substance prescriptions to virtually every patient he saw and often failed to meet the basic standards of legitimate medical care.

“Word spread quickly and the pill mill drew people from across Eastern North Carolina and other states. The volume of patients and associated activity in the parking lot of the clinic created safety concerns for the adjacent Tabor City Elementary School, which was forced to restrict outdoor activities for students until a privacy fence was constructed. Additionally, Thompson sold marijuana and hydrocodone on multiple occasions at both the clinic and the residence she shared with Kim.

“In January 2018, a confidential source began conducting a series of controlled purchases from Kim and Thompson, which were audio and video recorded. On June 29, 2018, search warrants were executed at Kim’s clinic and residence and Kim and Thompson were arrested. A medical expert who reviewed Kim’s records found no evidence that Kim was providing real medical care and concluded that Kim was merely exchanging prescriptions for money.”

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