City council member, pharmacy owner arrested

TRI-COUNTY— A Barbourville City Council member and owner of a Knox County pharmacy was arrested Wednesday after the Drug Enforcement Administration visited three pharmacies in the Tri-County.

Calvin L. Manis, 73, the owner of Parkway Pharmacy in Barbourville, is charged with conspiracy to unlawfully distribute a controlled substance and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, according to Gabrielle Dudgeon, Public Affairs Specialist U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of Kentucky.

“Working with our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts, DEA conducted a search in accordance with a lawfully-issued warrant and arrested one individual,” Public Information Officer with the Louisville Field Division of the DEA Kevin McWilliams said about the investigation at Parkway Pharmacy.

In an affidavit provided to the Sentinel Echo on behalf of the Times-Tribune by the U.S. Federal Court clerk in London, DEA Task Force Officer Anthony Janutolo said the investigation determined probable cause to believe Manis committed one or more violations of federal law.

The affidavit states former charges against Manis from July of 2008 where Manis pleaded guilty to misbranding a drug and October 2008 where Manis pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Kentucky to one count of being a licensed firearms dealer who failed to maintain records of transactions at his place of business in violation of the law. The court sentenced Manis to one year imprisonment, $15,000 in fines and a 12-month term of supervised release.

The Controlled Substances Act passed in 1970 and established federal U.S. drug policy was also reviewed in the affidavit.

The affidavit statement of probable cause says that on August 26, 2019 a cooperating witness (CW-1) told investigators he’d grown up with Manis and saw him socially. CW-1 told investigators he’d been “sponsoring” prescription controlled substances since 2015.

CW-1 stated that in some instances Manis would even fill prescriptions when the individual the prescription was for was not present. CW-1 also met Manis several times after normal business hours at Parkway Pharmacy to fill controlled substances. CW-1 identified several individuals he “sponsored” by name as well as certain out of state clinics and physicians from which the individuals he sponsored obtained controlled substance prescriptions.

A “sponsored” married couple both confirmed they obtained prescriptions out of state and got them filled by Manis while he sponsored them.

Prescription records corroborate this.

CW-1 told investigators that he began to sponsor individuals to go to a clinic in Tennessee called Gateway Medical. The prescriptions obtained were filled at Parkway. The married coupled explained that they would travel to Gateway, fill them at Parkway and this was financed with money from CW-1 for both the office visit and the prescription. CW-1 received half of the prescription drugs in exchange for the money he provided the the couple.

During the course of the investigation, a series of undercover telephone calls with Manis were recorded.

Manis told CW-1, “(they) needed to get away from the doctor at Gateway Medical in Tennessee.”

Manis said that the DEA and other law enforcement entities were watching the doctor.

In addition to sponsoring individuals, CW-1 obtained prescriptions himself from various out of state providers and filled them at Parkway.

Manis is lodged in the Laurel County Correctional Center without bond held as a federal prisoner.

Barbourville Mayor David Thompson said on Thursday it was too early to comment on what future step the city council would take.

“I have been mayor since 2006, and Calvin was on the city council for several, several years before I was elected under my father,” Thompson told the Times-Tribune. “In the almost 20 years as a Barbourville City Council member, the job that he has done as a city council member has never had any reflection of what he does in personal or business life.

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