NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCN) — A North Carolina woman who helped a former doctor run a “pill mill” where people from across the state and region paid cash in exchange for prescriptions for opioids and other drugs will spend five years in federal prison, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Tammy Lynn Thompson, 57, received a 60-month sentence for unlawfully distributing oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone and marijuana after pleading guilty to multiple drug charges in July 2021.

Her co-defendant and roommate, Jong Kim, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this year.

Prosecutors said Thompson helped Kim open his own clinic in Tabor City after he was forced to resign from a medical practice over concerns about overprescribing opioids.

From October 2017 through June 2018, Thompson brought people to the clinic who paid $200 in cash at each appointment while Kim wrote prescriptions to virtually every patient he saw, prosecutors said. 

The USDOJ says so many people — from both in the state and outside of it — flooded Tabor City to pick up prescriptions that it caused safety concerns for the nearby elementary school that restricted outdoor activities until a privacy fence could be built.

Thompson also was accused of selling marijuana and hydrocodone on multiple occasions at both the clinic and the residence she shared with Kim.

A confidential source made the first in a series of controlled purchases from Kim and Thompson in January 2018, prosecutors said. They were arrested in June 2018 after search warrants were executed.