Today in New Bern, federal Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced the final two defendants of a six-defendant federal prescription pill distribution conspiracy.

Thomas Paradis, 34, of Kinston, was sentenced to 58 months’ imprisonment, and Jesse Hood, 26, of Goldsboro, was sentenced to 69 months’ imprisonment. They and four other defendants pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute Oxycodone.

According to prosecutors, when Hood and Casey O’Quin, 31, of New Bern, were incarcerated together in 2010, Hood explained to O’Quin how to forge prescriptions utilizing a computer, printer, and specialized paper. Following their release in 2011, the two men, along with O’Quin’s wife, Nicole, began to create and pass fraudulent prescriptions across Eastern North Carolina until Hood’s arrest on unrelated charges in South Carolina.

While Hood was incarcerated in South Carolina, the O’Quins recruited the three other defendants to assist them in filling the prescriptions they created at pharmacies across North Carolina. After being released from prison in South Carolina, Hood returned to North Carolina to help.

In total, law enforcement was able to identify at least 137 fraudulent prescriptions that were filled at pharmacies in 23 counties across North Carolina as a part of this conspiracy, resulting in the distribution of over 16,000 Oxycodone pills.

O’Quin was earlier sentenced to 100 months imprisonment, and his wife was sentenced to 95 months imprisonment.