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Doctor In Florida Arrested, Charged As Part Of Alleged Drug Distribution Scheme


According to a report from NBC News Channel 8, a doctor in Hernando County has been arrested as part of an investigation into an alleged drug distribution scheme. Her granddaughter is also facing serious criminal charges. Within this article, our Orlando white collar criminal defense attorney explains what we know about the charges filed in this case. 

What We Know: Doctor in Spring Hill, FL Charged With Drug Distribution Offense 

As reported, Dr. Janet Pettyjohn has been indicted on federal criminal charges of distributing opioids and other drugs without valid medical reasons. Notably, her granddaughter, Shelly Gallagher, is also facing criminal charges for her role in the alleged drug distribution scheme. Dr. Pettyjohn and Ms. Gallagher are residents of Spring Hill. They are facing charges in the United States District Court for the Middle District Court of Florida.

Notably, the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine (BOM) previously restricted Dr. Pettyjohn’s ability to prescribe opioids in 2020. The regulatory action was taken against this doctor after concerns were raised about her “loose” prescribing practices. However, a year later, the restrictions against Dr. Pettyjohn were lifted. To be clear, both Dr. Pettyjohn and Ms. Gallagher pleaded not guilty and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted of the charges, the doctor and her granddaughter are each facing a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.

Federal Criminal Charges: Unlawful Drug Distribution 

Facing a drug distribution charge—whether you are a doctor or otherwise—is incredibly stressful. There is a lot at stake in these cases. When federal criminal charges are filed, the potential penalties can be extremely stiff. The unlawful distribution of drugs falls under the Controlled Substances Act. Here are some key things defendants should understand about federal drug distribution charges:

  • The Statute: Title 21 U.S.C. Section 841 makes it illegal to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, controlled substances.
  • The Elements: How does a prosecutor get a conviction in this type of drug distribution case? They must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, including establishing that: 1) The defendant knowingly and intentionally engaged in distribution, 2) There was a controlled substance being distributed, and 3) The defendant did not have the authority to distribute the substance.
  • The Penalties: Penalties for violating Section 841 vary significantly based on factors such as the type and quantity of the controlled substance, the defendant’s criminal history, and whether the offense resulted in any harm. Still, any conviction for a felony federal drug distribution charge will carry the risk of significant prison time.

Contact Our Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer for Doctors Today

At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando white collar criminal defense attorney has extensive experience representing doctors and other licensed medical professionals. To set up your confidential case evaluation. Please do not hesitate to contact us today. From our Orlando law office, we represent doctors facing drug charges in Orange County and throughout all of Central Florida.


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