KNOXVILLE — A Maryville veterinarian and pharmacist testified in U.S. District Court Wednesday that they saw lot of unusual activity associated with a former Maryville “pill-mill” clinic.
Sandra Kincaid, her husband, Randy Kincaid, her daughter, Wendi Henry, and son Dustin Morgan are on trial on charges of illegally dispensing controlled substances and money laundering at the former Breakthrough Pain Therapy Center on East Broadway Avenue in Maryville.
Their indictment in December 2010 was the result of a 13-month investigation by the 5th Judicial Drug Task Force, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI).
As the trial continued Wednesday, Dr. Edwin Lehman, a veterinarian with Village Veterinary Hospital on East Broadway Avenue, testified that when the Breakthrough clinic first opened next to the hospital on East Broadway Avenue in 2009, he noticed that the traffic flow increased dramatically.
He said there was a heavy flow of cars coming to Breakthrough, many from other counties and even other states.
“Veterinary clinics grow slowly,” Lehman said. “This wasn’t a red flag for me, but I was surprised for such a small building how much traffic there was. I would say 30 percent weren’t from Blount County, which was odd. Most of my patients are from Blount County, but I would see plates from Sevier County, Hamilton County, Florida and Michigan. I saw younger people compared to what I thought they would be.”
During cross-examination, Greg Isaacs, Sandra Kincaid’s attorney, showed an aerial picture of the location of Lehman’s clinic and the Breakthrough clinic, and questioned whether Lehman could actually see the parking lot and vehicle license plates from his clinic. Lehman said he had binoculars but did not take any pictures or video, but he did get in contact with the authorities and some media outlets concerning the activity.
Lehman said he only met Sandra and Randy Kincaid once, and never had any real interaction with them. He had also considered buying the building that housed Breakthrough once it closed down.
Dr. Jeremy Long, a pharmacist with City Drug Co. in Maryville, testified that he filled many prescriptions for the Breakthrough clinic. He said he cooperated with the Blount County Drug Task Force as there were some arrests of patients, and decided to stop filling prescriptions.
Long said if he had questions about a prescription, he would try to contact Breakthrough, but sometimes there would be no answer. He said he was usually cleared to fill them by Sandra Kincaid, but only because he thought she was a nurse, and was not aware that she did not have a medical license.
Long said people would always come in groups, and sometimes he saw four to six people riding together. The patients would pay mainly with cash, and would often ask how much they had to pay, leave the store and return with cash.
Long said he would have to make at least two to three large cash deposits throughout the day, which would make him uncomfortable, he said.
Got ‘cussed out’
“If I refused to fill a prescription, there was always an irate reaction,” Long said. “I would get cussed out by patients all the time, and I would say how would you know (about a certain patient), because we don’t give out information on patients to others, if it was someone they knew to get a prescription filled.”
During cross-examination, Isaacs acknowledged that Long also testified during the Tamral (Tammy) Guzman’s federal trial last year. Guzman was convicted of drug and money laundering charges while running the Maryville Pain Management Clinic at the same time as Breakthrough.
Long said he also filled prescriptions for Maryville Pain Management, but like Breakthrough, had a difficult time getting through to that clinic, and had complained about working physicians at both places because of concerns about questionable prescriptions.
The trial continues today with more witness testimony.