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Doctor found guilty on 861 federal drug charges

ABINGDON (AP)  A doctor who practiced in Martinsville has been found guilty on 861 counts of federal drug charges, federal prosecutors say.

Joel Smithers was convicted after a jury heard evidence that he “prescribed controlled substances to every patient in his practice,” the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release.

Investigators said Smithers ran a doctor’s office in Martinsville for two years, and his operation resulted in the distribution of more than 500,000 drugs, including fentanyl. According to the justice department, jurors determined that opioids the doctor prescribed to a woman from West Virginia caused her death.

Smithers was convicted on May 9 on counts of possessing drugs with the intent to distribute them, having a place for illegally distributing drugs and illegally prescribing drugs. He is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 16.

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