leveland woman gets 11 years in prison for stealing and selling prescription painkillers

A Cleveland woman will spend 11 years in prison for writing fraudulent prescriptions for pain pills as part of a ring that was selling the drugs.

Heather Mitchell was sentenced Monday by Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John Sutula.

She pleaded guilty to 35 charges including corruption, forgery, identity fraud, theft, drug trafficking and deception to obtain an illegal drug.

Mitchell operated as part of a ring that prosecutors said distributed more than 5,000 opioid pain pills, primarily OxyContin and Vicodin, using phony prescriptions.

"Heather Mitchell ran one of the most sophisticated prescription drug rings we have ever seen," Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer O'Malley said Monday. "She manipulated at least a dozen people – many of them struggling with drug addiction – to help her obtain more than 5,000 prescription pills and then push them out on to the streets of Cuyahoga County and five other counties in Greater Cleveland."

She obtained prescription pads from doctors' offices and stole Drug Enforcement Agency numbers, then using them to write prescriptions for narcotic medication, which prosecutors say others would use to pick up medication at pharmacies across Northeast Ohio.

Published by cleveland.com

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