Final member of prescription drug ring sentenced to 151 months

COVINGTON, Ky. -- A Cincinnati man learned Thursday he would spend 151 months in federal prison for illegally distributing a portion of 80,000 oxycodone pills in southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

Nick Sandlin is the 38th member of a large drug ring, and the final defendant to receive his sentence, according to Kyle Edelen, spokesman for the United States Department of Justice.

Court records show that Sandlin plotted with others between December 2011 and February 2013 to distribute oxycodone. Sandlin planned trips to Florida pain clinics, where other members of the drug ring obtained prescriptions for large amounts of the pain reliever. The group then traveled to have the prescriptions filled in Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kentucky and Kansas.

Sandlin and others paid medical and travel expenses in exchange for the bulk of the oxycodone pills prescribed to each patient," Edelen said. "Sandlin made approximately 13 trips to Florida to obtain oxycodone and admitted to distributing over 5,000 tablets."

Sandlin, 34, is required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, which is just under 13 years. He was also placed under lifetime supervised release.

Of the 38 members convicted and sentenced, the average sentence was more than 96 months, Edelen said. The ring leaders, Damon and John Helton were sentenced to 360 and 270 months in prison, respectively.

When investigators discovered the operation, they seized five vehicles, 25 firearms, 12 pieces of real estate and about $110,000 in cash.

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