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‘Pill mill’ assistant sentenced to five years in prison

Tammy Lynn Thompson


     An assistant who helped a former doctor operate a “pill mill” in Tabor City has been handed a five year prison sentence for her crimes.

     Tammy Lynn Thompson, 57, a Bladen County resident, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan Thursday, said a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Michael Easley.

Investigators at the offices of John Whan Kim on June 29, 2018. (Deuce Niven, TLT)

     Opioids and other controlled substances were improperly prescribed at the East 5th Street medical office, adjacent to Tabor City Elementary School, the news release said.

     “The defendant helped to illegally distribute opioids, jeopardizing the safety of the community,” Easley said. “My office will continue to collaborate with law enforcement at all levels to dismantle criminal organizations that are contributing to the drug problems in eastern North Carolina.”

     Thompson was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison one month after the doctor, John Whan Kim, 75, was handed a prison sentence of 78 months in prison. Both were sentenced for unlawfully distributing Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Methadone, and Marijuana.

     Thompson entered guilty pleas on July 12, 2021, to charges of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and marijuana; multiple counts of unlawful dispensation and distribution of oxycodone; and distribution of marijuana and aiding and abetting,” the news release said.

‘Pill mill’

     Thompson helped Kim to open his adult care physicians’ office on East 5th Street in Tabor City late in 2017, relocating from Elizabethtown where he had been forced to resign from an area practice “due to concerns over his opioid prescribing practices,” the news release said.

     Vice/Narcotics Detectives at the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office quickly noticed the operation, District Attorney Jon David said following the arrests of Kim and Thompson on June 29, 2018.

     “Thompson helped Kim unlawfully and improperly prescribe opioids and other controlled substances by bringing in “patients” who paid $200 cash at each appointment,” the news release said. “The investigation revealed that Kim wrote controlled substance prescriptions to virtually every patient he saw and often failed to meet the basic standards of legitimate medical care.

     “Word spread quickly and the pill mill drew people from across Eastern North Carolina and other states. The volume of patients and associated activity in the parking lot of the clinic created safety concerns for the adjacent Tabor City Elementary School, which was forced to restrict outdoor activities for students until a privacy fence was constructed.

     “Additionally, Thompson sold marijuana and hydrocodone on multiple occasions at both the clinic and the residence she shared with Kim.”

     Look for more on this story in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.