Acting U.S. Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle announced Monday that a Knoxville, Tennessee man pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.

65-year-old Billy K. Groce owned and operated a business for the sole purpose of evading the Food and Drug Administration regulation of the labeling and interstate shipment of veterinary drugs, according to court documents.

Groce’s business – not a licensed pharmacy, veterinary clinic or licensed wholesale – obtained, sold and stored veterinary drugs from veterinary drug distributors and manufacturers.

Groce’s business shipped drugs to Marlin Webb, store manager at Carroll County Cooperative, where they were illegally sold. Webb pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to defraud the FDA. He was sentenced to one year of probation and paid $125,000 in forfeiture.

Groce has pleaded guilty and is now awaiting sentencing.

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