AKRON, Ohio - An assistant for a former Akron doctor charged with dealing hundreds of thousands of prescription pain killers to patients has pleaded guilty to her role in the case.
Tequilla M. Berry, 36, appeared in federal court in Akron Tuesday where she struck a plea deal with prosecutors, who say Berry was a "minimal participant" in a conspiracy to distribute prescription pills.
Berry was employed by Dr. Adolph Harper, Jr. who was indicted last March on similar charges.
Berry's defense attorney, Jonathan T. Sinn, said his client was remorseful for her role in the case.
"It was a difficult situation," said Sinn. "She was a young girl. She thought she had a career in medicine but she also made some poor choices getting involved in the practice she got involved in."
Harper and two others are scheduled for trial in November and Berry has agreed to testify and cooperate fully with federal prosecutors.
An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation in February 2012 first raised serious concerns among family members of patients who were overdosing -- allegedly as a result of pain killers prescribed by Dr. Harper.
The FBI raided Harper's Akron office in May 2012, following our exclusive investigation.
Also, in May 2012, the Ohio Board of Medicine revoked Harper's medical license.
Prosecutors say at least one patient died as a result of pain killers supplied by Dr. Harper and that Harper was aware that patients were overdosing.
Berry remains free on bond and will be sentenced in November--perhaps to 8-14 months in prison as a result of her cooperation.
She could have faced a maximum of 20 years in prison.