An executive who served as the head of the Rochester Drug Cooperative has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for funneling large amounts of narcotic medication into pill mills. Laurence F. Doud III was sentenced on March 8 on charges of criminal conspiracy to deceive the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

According to the New York Times, Doud directed Rochester Drug Cooperative to send large amounts of opioids into pharmacies throughout the Northeastern U.S. despite knowing that the pharmacies were using the narcotics to fuel opioid addictions. This was the grounds for Mr. Doud’s charge of criminal conspiracy, which has resulted in a 27-month prison sentence. Doud was also convicted of conspiring to distribute narcotics and defraud the U.S. in 2022.

Over the course of the trial, numerous company emails were entered into evidence that described the pharmacy’s dispensing behavior as “staggering” and that the data from doctors and pharmacies was “screaming red.” The rate of suspicious pill dispensations was so high that one email described the situation as a “stick of dynamite waiting for DEA to light the fuse.”

Doud’s sentence was a compromised position between suggestions from the prosecution and defense. Attorneys representing Doud asked judge George B. Daniels to sentence Doud to zero prison time. To support their request, they claimed that their client is a pillar of the community who did not resemble a drug kingpin and posed no threat to the public. In contrast, the prosecution requested a sentence of 15 years in order to hold Doud accountable for the “shattering impact” that his actions have had on the lives of the individuals he illegally supplied opioids to.

Speaking in his own defense, Doud stated that although he did a “lousy job” of overseeing compliance with regulations, he meant no harm. This works in concert with the argument of Doud’s defense team who claimed that Doud made errors of judgment and failed to understand the importance of adhering to regulations but only acted through greed rather than through malice.

In addition to Doud, other members of the Rochester Drug Cooperative including the former head of compliance, William Pietruszewski, have received similar charges as well as failing to disclose suspicious orders to the DEA. Along with criminal charges, many manufacturers have faced civil lawsuits to remedy the harms allegedly caused by negligent distribution practices.