Doctor at the head of a Tri-Cities drug conspiracy sentenced to four years behind bars

West Richland, Wenatchee, Prosser, Moses Lake, Walla Walla, College Place, Ellensburg, Benton County, Kennewick, Tri-Cities, Yakima, Eastern Washington, Wapato

RICHLAND, Wash. — A former doctor who operated out of the Tri-Cities will spend four years in prison for her role in a conspiracy that put addictive controlled substances in the hands of community members for immoral purposes.

Benton City resident Janet Sue Arnold (63) was found guilty of conspiring to distribute opioid pain medications and other controlled substances as part of an operation that involved several other accomplices.

The sentence was confirmed by Senior U.S. District Judge Edward F. Shea, who also imposed three years of federal supervision after her release because this “particular crime created the risk of so many others.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:  Richland doctor faces up to 25 years for opioid distribution & conspiracy

Court document detailed how Arnold, along with four co-conspirators, put thousands of dangerous pills on the streets of the Tri-Cities area. Authorities believe this not only supplied addicts but created new ones by pushing this supply onto the streets. In fact, two of the co-conspirators—who are confirmed addicts—began as patients at Dr. Arnold’s facility: Desert Wind Family Practice.

Furthermore, the court found that ‘blank check’ prescriptions were issued by the practice. Many of these were assigned to fake patients so that people could purchase illegal drugs from pharmacies across the Tri-Cities area.

The following substances were linked to illegal distribution from this practice: fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone, hydromorphone, methylphenidate, an amphetamine mixture, as well as carisoprodol and alprazolam.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Richland doctor’s medical license suspended over drug investigation

Arnold also prescribed oxycodone pills to an undercover DEA informant who posed as a patient suffering from headaches.

“Dr. Arnold contributed to the current opioid epidemic with her illegal and irresponsible prescribing habits,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “She broke the trust of the community and violated her oath to the public by using her prescription pad and signature to drive a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl patches, opioids and other controlled substances. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that those who participate in the illegal distribution/diversion of narcotics will be held accountable. We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

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