Westchester County Pharmacist Sentenced to Six Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Distributing Hydrocodone
JOHN P. GILBRIDE, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division Drug Enforcement Administration and MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOHN MANCINI, a pharmacist, was sentenced yesterday in White Plains federal court to 72 months in prison for illegally distributing approximately 5.4 million tablets of hydrocodone between January 2000 and December 2004.
Because of the “staggering,” “mind-boggling” and “extraordinary” volume of hydrocodone illegally distributed by MANCINI, United States District Judge STEPHEN C. ROBINSON granted the Government’s motion for a sentence greater than the 33 41 months range that would ordinarily apply under federal Sentencing Guidelines.
“This sentencing stands as a warning to those individuals who illegally traffick prescription drugs. One of the largest growing concerns is the rapid abuse of these drugs by the youngest and most vulnerable of our society. DEA is focused on keeping our citizens safe from the dangers of prescription drug abuse,” stated SAC John P. Gilbride.
According to publicly filed documents, the defendant was, for several years prior to his arrest, the supervising pharmacist at Millennium Drugs, a pharmacy in Mount Vernon, New York. In or about May 2003, the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) received information from the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) that the defendant and another individual were illegally distributing hydrocodone-based narcotics (commonly known as "Vicodin" after the original brand name). The DEA ultimately learned that, between in or about 2001 and on or about November 3, 2004, Millennium Drugs ordered and received approximately 5.4 million tablets of hydrocodone.
The orders were spread among three different drug distributors – one method that pharmacies use to conceal orders for inordinately large quantities of drugs, since it reduces the likelihood that any one wholesaler would report an excessive purchase to the DEA. MANCINI sold the overwhelming majority of the 5.4 million hydrocodone tablets to individuals who did not have a valid written or oral prescription.
The quantity of hydrocodone ordered and received by Millennium Drugs vastly exceeded the quantities ordered and received by comparable pharmacies. For example, for the period from January 1, 2004 to March 31, 2004, Millennium Drugs was the single largest purchaser of hydrocodone in the 105- zip code area in Westchester County, despite being far from the largest area pharmacy. During that period, the pharmacy purchased 2,522 grams of hydrocodone. By contrast, the next nine largest purchasing pharmacies in the same geographical area purchased a combined total of only 1119 grams of the drug. MANCINI pleaded guilty on March 3, 2006, to one count of conspiring to distribute hydrocodone in violation of and two counts of possession of hydrocodone with intent to distribute. Though he continued to remain out on bail following his guilty plea, MANCINI was ultimately remanded in August 2006 because, among other things, he had been arrested and convicted of a drunk-driving offense while out on bail. MANCINI, 53, resided in Wappingers Falls, New York.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative efforts of the DEA and the NYPD.
Assistant United States Attorneys MICHAEL S. BOSWORTH and JESSE M. FURMAN are in charge of the prosecution.