TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Three pharmacists and five nurse practitioners indicted in connection with an opioid abuse investigation involving Lansdell clinics and pharmacies in Southwest Arkansas were arraigned in federal court in Texarkana Wednesday morning.

Tawnya Lee Lansdell, Claire Terece Russell, 69; Wendy Wynette Gammon 36, Shelly Rae Eastridge, Bonita Louis Martin, 50; Candace Michelle Whitely, 30; Gina M. Richardson, 41; and Stephen Haden Sullivan, 58; were indicted March 2 with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.

According to the indictment unsealed following their arraignments, federal prosecutors allege the defendants “conspired knowingly and intentionally conspired to possess with intent to distribute Scheduled II controlled substances, hydrocodone and oxycodone, and other Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances, without an effective prescription,” in violation of federal law.

The indictment says the criminal activity began in January 2019 and continued through August 2021. Federal and Southwest Arkansas authorities conducted raids at clinics in Texarkana, De Queen, Lockesburg, and Dierks in May 2021.

In addition to potential prison time, federal prosecutors are also seeking to force the defendants – if convicted – to forfeit all property and assets obtained as a result of the drug trafficking, as well as all property used to commit the crime.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday.

Their trial is set for May 16, 2022.

All remain free on $5,000 personal recognizance bond, with restrictions on where they can travel and under monitoring by federal authorities.