By Jonquil Newland, Weekend Today Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE (WRCB) -- On June 19, Channel 3 was on the scene of a reported pill mill raid on Airpark Drive. The next day officers took their investigation to North Holtzclaw Ave. where Dr. Jerome Sherard practiced.
The 58-year-old is now one of four who are federally charged with conspiring to illegally distribute controlled substances including oxycodone, Vicoden and Xanax. Sources tell Channel 3 the alleged pill mill raked in about $20,000 a day.
"He was signing a whole lot of pieces of paper, the prescriptions. He was giving them to nurses and letting them write out your prescription," says one of Sherard's former patients who asked to remain anonymous.
"You see people with back braces on come out after they get their prescriptions, throw the back brace across the car, do a back flip and jump in their car and ride out," he says.
Barbara Lang, 58, of Rossville, GA., Faith Blake, 40, of Houston, Texas, and Charles Larmore, 64, of Chattanooga, face the same charges.
Lang and Blake are said to have operated the Superior One Medical Clinic in several locations in Chattanooga , mostly along Highway 58. Lang is also said to have operated the Primary Care and Pain Clinic with Larmore since last year.
According to the Tennessee Drug Diversion Task Force, the Volunteer state has consistently ranked among the top in prescription drug abuse. The crackdown on pill mills is a part of a state wide effort to lower that statistic.
If convicted the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison and up to $1 million fine for each conspiracy charge.
Sherard, Lang and Larmore pleaded not guilty in court last Friday. Blake was arrested in Houston, Texas, she also entered a plea of not guilty. A trial is scheduled for Nov. 5 in U.S. District Court.