MAR 05 (GULFPORT, Miss.) – Four individuals indicted in the Southern District of Mississippi face various drug charges as the result of an extensive three-year drug investigation that targeted an illegal prescription drug ring, announced Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown with the Drug Enforcement Administration – New Orleans Field Division and United States Attorney Gregory K. Davis from the Southern District of Mississippi.
Dr. Sanjay Sinha, 49, of Woodstock, Georgia, Joshua Locke, 36, of Biloxi, Robert Thornton II, 36, of Biloxi, and John Mattina, 44, of Ocean Springs were charged in a seven count federal indictment with Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. According to the indictment, Singh developed various relationships with his co-defendants and others. Those relationships led to the distribution of Hydrocodone and Oxycodone outside the scope of professional medical practice.
Drug Enforcement Administration, Gulfport Resident Agent in Charge Daniel Comeaux said, "The prescription drug epidemic in this country respects no boundaries. Today's collaborative law enforcement effort by DEA, MBN, the Mississippi State Gaming Commission, Biloxi PD and our other state and local counterparts is a testament to the fact that we will use all resources at our disposal to target drug trafficking. You can no longer hide behind the comfort of a lab coat and a title in front of your name that say's "doctor". If you are involved in this sort of illegal activity, this is your warning. Please join us on April 26th as we kick-off our National Prescription Drug Take Back campaign. More information on the Take Back campaign will be available on our website soon."
"Prescription drug abuse is a troubling problem in this country. This office along with our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and bring to justice those individuals who would illegally distribute highly addictive painkillers" said United States Attorney Gregory K. Davis.
Concerning the arrests, Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said, "The Biloxi Police Department is proud to be a part of this three year investigation. The Biloxi Police Department, along with our other state and federal counterparts want the general public to know that we care and we want our city streets free of illegal drugs and illegally obtained prescription drugs. Today's actions are a positive step in that direction."
Doctor Sinha was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia and made his initial appearance there on Monday, March 3, 2014. The other defendants are scheduled to appear this afternoon for initial appearances before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge John Roper in Gulfport.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute Oxycodone is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum penalty for possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone is 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and Biloxi Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Meynardie.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.