- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A South Mississippi man has been sentenced in a pill-ring case involving a Georgia doctor who used casino workers and gambling trips to establish a cash-only business for the illegal distribution of prescription drugs.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1E4PDlz) Joshua James Locke, 37, of Biloxi was sentenced Tuesday to 41 months in prison and was fined $8,000 by U.S. District Court. Judge Sul Ozerden.

Prosecutors said Locke was receiving prescriptions for narcotics from a Pascagoula doctor in 2009 when he also began getting prescriptions from Dr. Sanjay Sinha, 49, of Woodstock, Georgia.

Locke also received narcotics from at least two other doctors and began using different pharmacies. Most of his prescriptions from Sinha in 2010 and 2011 were called in to an Ocean Springs pharmacy. The pharmacy later contacted authorities.

State prescription records show Locke received 83 prescriptions for 5,276 doses of controlled substances over a three-year period. The drugs included hydrocodone, oxycodone and clonazepam.

Locke was indicted on multiple counts and pleaded guilty Nov. 24 to one count of possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone.

He was among three defendants indicted in February 2014 with Sinha.

Robert Thornton II, 36, of Biloxi, and John Mattina, 44, of Ocean Springs, each pleaded guilty in August to possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone.

Thornton was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $8,000 fine.

Mattina was fined $5,000 and sentenced to five years’ probation.

Sinha pleaded guilty in June to possession with intent to distribute or dispense a controlled substance outside the scope of professional practice. Sinha will be sentenced Sept. 29.


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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