February 5, 2014: Federal agents and NYPD arrest dozens of members of purported illegal Oxycodone trafficking ring involving Astramed clinics.
The New York Post today reported that on February 5, federal agents and the NYPD arrested approximately 24 people in connection with indictments for conspiring to traffic illegal prescription drugs. Specifically, it is alleged that numerous doctors – at least some associated with the Astramed physicians' clinic in the Bronx – wrote prescriptions for Oxycodone for people that they knew did not need them or intend to use them, and that these individuals then filled these prescriptions and gave the pills to traffickers for resale. All in all, it is alleged by the prosecutors that over a half billion dollars worth of illegal Oxycodone was purchased and trafficked into the black market in this fashion.
It may be that many of the individuals involved in this operation were in legitimate need of prescription medication and in fact committed no crimes, and it remains to be seen whether the doctors that wrote the prescriptions actually knew that they were furthering a criminal enterprise instead of simply writing prescriptions that they believed were medically necessary. Interestingly, under federal conspiracy laws, the individuals that obtained the phony prescriptions from the purportedly corrupt doctors could be charged with the same crimes as the doctors that knowingly wrote the false prescriptions or the drug dealers that ultimately resold the illegal pills, though they are likely to be able to receive shorter jail sentences for having played smaller roles in the operation.
Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance under the United States Controlled Substance Act. We suspect that the applicable charge contained in the federal indictment is a violation of 22 USC 841(a), with penalties described under 22 USC 841(b)(1)(C). Notably, it appears that at least one or two individuals have also been charged in New York State Supreme court with similar state-level charges.
If you or a loved one have been arrested in connection with this criminal investigation, you should strongly consider contacting the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone. They have siginificant experience successfully defending individuals in large-scale conspiracy cases and in prescription drug conspiracy cases.