Five Scioto County Residents Indicted In Drug Ring

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Five Scioto County residents are among 44 people named in a federal indictment in a broad case of health care fraud involving prescription painkillers and medical services that were illegitimate.

William Ashley Smith, Robert Scott Dials, 25 and Nathan Reed, 31, are all from Portsmouth.

Cherish Lewis, 26 and Josh Barnes, 33, are both from Wheelersburg.

The 13-count indictment charges the 44 defendants with a drug conspiracy involving prescription drug-controlled substances including OxyContin, Vicodin and others.

The defendants include seven doctors, four pharmacists and three owners of home health agencies. Prosecutors say poor people were paid for their Medicaid or Medicare information, which was used to order drugs.

The government or private insurers would unwittingly pick up the tab.

Portsmouth police Chief Robert Ware appeared at a news conference Wednesday in Detroit. He says Portsmouth-area families have been affected by crime, addiction or death tied to painkillers.