MILWAUKEE, WI. – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced today the arrest of 23 defendants on both state and federal charges related to the illegal distribution of pharmaceutical controlled substances in the Milwaukee metropolitan area.
L-R: U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin James Santelle, Chief of Milwaukee Police Department Edward Flynn, ASAC James Bohn (at podium), Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, and SAC Jack Riley.
L-R: U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin James Santelle, Chief of Milwaukee Police Department Edward Flynn, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, and SAC Jack Riley (at podium).
The following 20 individuals were charged by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office:
The following individual was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin:
The arrests were part of a week-long enforcement initiative culminating multiple investigations conducted over the past several months in conjunction with numerous Milwaukee area law enforcement agencies. Some of the defendants are alleged to have obtained, sold, and filled illegally obtained prescriptions. Others charged are alleged to have provided the controlled substances to various distributors who then sold them to customers in the Milwaukee area.
In addition to the arrests, DEA executed a Federal search warrant at the LAABS Pharmacy, located at 911 N. 27 th Street in Milwaukee. According to the search warrant affidavit, the pharmacy allegedly failed to properly adherence to the federal regulations related to the ordering, handling, and legal distribution of pharmaceutical controlled substances. Additionally, the affidavit alleged the direct involvement of at least one current employee, Pharmacy Technician Dimitris Joyner, in the scheme to illegally fill fraudulent prescriptions. In addition, many of the defendants fraudulently utilized their BadgerCare benefits in order to pay only $1 for the pharmaceutical controlled substances, with BadgerCare paying the balance.
During the past week, DEA also conducted administrative inspection warrants of four other Milwaukee area facilities as part of DEA’s mission to ensure that those registered and licensed to manufacture, handle, prescribe, or distribute controlled substances are adhering to federal regulations related to handling of controlled substances.
“Prescription drug abuse has risen to alarming levels throughout the United States, leading to more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. The DEA and our law enforcement partners are working together to keep prescription controlled substances in the hands of those it is medically prescribed for under the legitimate care of a physician,” said Jack Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the DEA, which includes the state of Wisconsin. “Those found guilty of diverting pharmaceutical controlled substances from legitimate use are no different than a typical drug dealer and will be dealt with the same.”
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, whose office was responsible for charges related to 19 of the 22 defendants said, “The number of deaths in this community related to prescription drugs has risen significantly in recent years. That is why I have dedicated a prosecutor solely to handle prescription drug related offenses. It is important to have a robust law enforcement response to this problem, and I am grateful to Assistant District Attorney Patricia Daugherty, the professionals at the Drug Enforcement Administration and our other local law enforcement officers for their dedication to this sweeping and successful investigation.”
James L. Santelle, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, commented, “Today’s charges, both federal and state, reflect the strong, coordinated focus of all law enforcement units on identifying, investigating, and apprehending those people who compromise the safety, the security, and the health of our community by trafficking in illegal pharmaceuticals. The problems associated with the abuse of these drugs by adults and youth alike are staggering—and all of our offices are targeting pill distribution and related conduct broadly and aggressively. Through our coordinated criminal, civil, and administrative processes, we will continue to stop the individuals and the companies that obtain, sell, transfer, and otherwise deal in fraudulently prescribed pharmaceuticals of the sorts that are the focus of today’s highly effective law enforcement work.”
The DEA worked closely with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin while conducting the investigations. In addition, DEA received assistance from numerous area police departments including the Milwaukee Police Department, Brookfield Police Department, Shorewood Police Department, Glendale Police Department, and the West Allis Police Department.
Assistant District Attorney Patricia Daugherty of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office is handling the state prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Blackwood of the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin is handling the federal prosecution.
The public is reminded that a defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state or government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.