DEC 17 (DENVER) – The Colorado Attorney General’s Office announced the charging of 15 individuals accused of fraudulently acquiring, diverting, and distributing large amounts of oxycodone, a Schedule II Controlled Substance, in the Denver-metro area and Oklahoma.
“Crimes around prescription drugs are on the rise in Colorado and nationwide and we are seeing a proliferation of fraudulent schemes to obtain and divert oxycodone, which is highly addictive,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “Thanks to a coordinated effort between the medical, pharmacy, mental health, and law enforcement communities, we’ve dismantled a prescription-drug trafficking ring.”
Beginning in July 2010, Robin Steinke is accused of coordinating and orchestrating a scheme that relied on a group of people to profit from illegally acquiring and distributing oxycodone. Steinke directed her associates to obtain the drug so that her organization could sell it to people at an inflated price, approximately 50 cents per milligram or about $15.00 for one 30 mg dose. Steinke paid pharmacist Jeffrey Clawson, who owned a Brighton, Colorado pharmacy, to collaborate with her and her network of “patients” to divert large quantities of oxycodone for sale on the black market.
“Prescription drug abuse in Colorado is a growing problem, and today’s law enforcement action is evidence that DEA and our state and local partners intend to aggressively combat this problem,” said Special Agent in Charge Barbra M. Roach of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Denver Field Division. “If pharmacists and other medical professionals abuse their position and illegally divert oxycodone and other prescription drugs, they will be investigated and prosecuted just like any other drug trafficker.”
In addition to Steinke and Clawson, the Attorney General’s Office named 13 other individuals for their roles in the drug ring in the 43-count indictment: Celeste Deherrera, Leticia Deherrera, Christopher Peterson (a.k.a. Christopher Petersen), Christopher Gemeinhardt, Shawna Lawley, Joel Barr, Jacqueline Geist, Andrew Guerrero, Lisa Teitelbaum, Rhonda Scott, Sadie Grubbs, Daniel Burke, and Laurie Ann Larrew. In addition to Colorado, the ring attempted to have fraudulent prescriptions filled for sale in Oklahoma and Kansas.
The DEA Denver Field Division worked in cooperation with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, South Metro Drug Task Force, North Metro Drug Task Force, Broomfield Police Department, Denver Police Department, Greenwood Village Police Department, Parker Police Department, Sheridan Police Department, Thornton Police Department, and the Carter County Oklahoma District Attorney’s Office.
The filing of criminal charges or an indictment is merely a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime. Each defendant should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. These cases will be prosecuted in Adams County District Court by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the Adams County District Attorney’s Office.