Former clinic workers plead guilty to forging prescriptions

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GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Three south Mississippi residents are pleading guilty to writing unauthorized prescriptions for others.

Nakita Piernas pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Gulfport to conspiring to distribute drugs outside of professional practice. Tyrone Thomas Jr. and Andrea Opoku pleaded guilty to the same charge earlier this month. All three face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.

All three were former employees of Merit Health's Gulf Oaks Outpatient Center in Biloxi. The three were indicted in June, along with nine others.

Of those, Marcus Prince pleaded guilty Oct. 17 to the same conspiracy charge. Six others have pleaded guilty to either one or two counts of possessing drugs by fraud.

Two defendants have not pleaded guilty and are scheduled for trial in January.