SHREVEPORT, La. - Former Bossier Parish Schools Superintendent Scott Smith entered a guilty plea Thursday in a federal drug case.
Smith, 61, pleaded guilty to four counts of simple possession of controlled substance and was sentenced to one year supervised probation. He has to pay a $100,000 fine within seven days.
Standing before Magistrate Judge Mark Hornsby with his attorney, Paul Carmouche, at his side, Smith took responsibility for his actions.
"When you're guilty, you're guilty," Smith said.
Smith said he willingly took on the "difficult job" of superintendent and was "lucid and competent" when leading the school district. He expressed pride in the accomplishments of the students and staff.
"I'm very sorry I brought this on," Smith told the court. "When you lose your reputation it's hard to regain that. I will work to regain that."
The government says Smith was investigated after law enforcement agents on Jan. 31 intercepted a DHL package containing Diazepam, also known as Valium, addressed to Smith's elderly father's Bossier City home. After the Diazepam tested positive, the agents conducted a controlled delivery of the package, which originated in India and contained a forged prescription.
Smith was confronted by law enforcement agents after he picked up the package and placed it in his vehicle, and agreed to a search of his vehicle, resulting in the Diazepam package being recovered. In an interview later that evening, Smith admitted to purchasing controlled substances illegally online without a valid prescription for six years, spending more than $10,000 on controlled substances during this time.
Also during the interview, agents seized Diazepam and Propranolol that Smith removed from his pocket. Smith agreed to a search of his property and showed agents where he kept the drugs he had purchased from the internet.
The following controlled substances were seized from the master bedroom area of Smith’s residence:
- Tadalafil – 53 tablets
- Promethazine Hydrochloride – 99 tablets
- Zolpidem (Ambien) – 43 tablets
- Carisoprodol (Soma) – 54 tablets
- Gabapentin Sustained Release – 174 tablets
- Zolpidem Aurobindo – 52 tablets
- Ondansetron – 63 tablets
- Sanval – 9 tablets
- Quetiapine – 17 tablets
- Propanolol Hydrochloride – 102 tablets
- Diazepam (Valium) – 50 tablets
- Nebivolol Hydrochloride – 93 tablets
- Propanolol Hydrochloride –7 tablets
- Quetiapine – 51 tablets
- Pregabalin (Lyrica) – 47 capsules
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.
Smith must continue to work with a healthcare provider to wean himself off of substances and "your addiction problems," Hornsby said. He also has to participate in substance abuse treatment, and any future prescriptions are to be acquired from licensed providers.
"Do I have your word it will be done?" asked Hornsby. Responded Smith: "Yes." Added Hornsby: "I hope you will be able to overcome these difficulties."
Carmouche told the court he was unaware of the stress of Smith's job until he took on the case. Carmouche listed several "endless" issues a school leader deals with on a daily basis.
"He had never, ever bought these prescription drugs with the intent to sell them," said Carmouche, emphasizing Smith used them "because of the anxiety of the job." That led to difficulty sleeping.
Smith said his daily life now is committed to assisting his 95-year-old father, Albert, who is a World War II veteran. Because of that, Smith said he wants to use his time volunteering to help veterans.
But he also threw out that he's "relatively young and energetic" so he's willing to work. "I want to do positive things for the community in the future."
ORIGINAL STORY posted Wednesday, July 24:
Former Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott SMith was charged earlier this week in a bill of information with illegal receipt of mail-order prescription drugs.
Smith, 61, was charged with four misdemeanor counts of simple possession of a controlled substance because the drugs he ordered were sleep- and anti-anxiety medications intended to help him with the stresses of his job, individuals familiar with his case said. They were not narcotics like opiods, which are more strictly regulated and carry stiffer penalties.
The bill of information said Scott possessed Valium, Ambien, Soma and Lyrica.
Smith was not arrested.
He retired in February after federal authorities intercepted a shipment of prescription-only drugs intended for him. He was questioned and released with no charges immediately filed, then checked himself into a rehabilitation facility.
Smith’s attorney, Paul Carmouche, said his client has accepted responsibility “from the word go” and has cooperated with authorities.
The mail-order anti-anxiety drugs – which were to help Smith sleep and deal with anxiety from the stresses of a job that threatened to consume him – were for personal consumption only, Carmouche said.
“None of this was going to anybody but him – it was for his own anxieties,” Carmouche said. “He saw buying it on-line as a way to get prescription drugs without going through a doctor. He saw an ad about how to buy stuff on-line. The ads make you believe it’s all legal.”
Smith has been released as an-inpatient and is still undergoing counseling, friends told KTBS News.
Smith came under investigation as part of federal authorities' efforts to curb abuse of addictive drugs by monitoring controlled substances being shipped through the mail, according to multiple sources, all of whom spoke on condition they not be identified because it is an ongoing case.
A shipment was noticed and intercepted in the mail, the sources said. A delivery was arranged by authorities, which led to Smith.
Smith was named schools superintendent in May 2016. Individuals who know Smith describe him as under extreme stress from the pressures of his job -- much of it due to criminal charges against a teacher, accusing the teacher of inappropriate sexual contact with elementary students.
Civil suits by parents followed, alleging school system officials knew or should have know about that teacher. The school system is fighting the lawsuits. There also were suits about teaching religion in Bossier schools, and controversy after Smith threatened students with disciplinary action if they protested during the national anthem.