Georgia school administrator sentenced to 2 years in prison for role in drug ring

Her role in the drug ring is connected to her time in Montgomery, Alabama

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A Georgia assistant principal has been sentenced to federal prison for her involvement in a drug ring in another state.

Melodie Cheatham was sentenced to two years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised released after she pleaded guilty to conspiring to unlawfully possess oxycodone with intent to distribute and for illegally distributing the drug.

She was an assistant principal at Brock Elementary School in the Savannah-Chatham Public School System. Her role in the drug ring, however, stems from her time in Montgomery, Alabama.

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2021, file photo, fake pill bottles with messages about OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma are displayed during a protest outside the courthouse where the bankruptcy of the company is taking place in White Plains, N.Y. A federal judge should reject a sweeping settlement to thousands of lawsuits against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, a group of states said at a hearing Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 arguing that the protections it extends to members of the Sackler family who own the firm are improper. 

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2021, file photo, fake pill bottles with messages about OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma are displayed during a protest outside the courthouse where the bankruptcy of the company is taking place in White Plains, N.Y. A federal judge should reject a sweeping settlement to thousands of lawsuits against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, a group of states said at a hearing Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 arguing that the protections it extends to members of the Sackler family who own the firm are improper.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

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Cheatham was one of 11 defendants to have worked to illegally obtain the prescription drug through an Alabama physician, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Alabama.

The drug prescriptions were often facilitated through a third party, with the defendants never actually going to the physician's office.

The defendants would then fill the prescriptions at pharmacies located in the Montgomery area and give the oxycodone tablets to the scheme's organizers.

"It is disturbing how so many are willing to jeopardize the well-being of the community simply to make a few extra dollars," Acting United States Attorney Sandra Stewart wrote in the news release. "The drugs distributed through the work of this conspiracy were powerful opioids, capable of destroying lives and families."

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System said in a statement to WSB-TV that there is no indication Cheatham engaged in any unlawful drug-related activities while in a school setting.

"This individual is no longer employed with the school district," the statement read. "During the time that Melodie Cheatham was employed with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, she had no employee infractions and there is no information to support that any of the actions with which she is charged took place in our school setting."

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"District employees are held to high standards and we expect further actions may be taken by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission," the statement continued. "We are deeply disappointed in this behavior and do not condone any actions that place the students or staff of our district at risk."