Thirty-Three Individuals Charged in Illegal Prescription Drug Ring
JUL 15 -- BUFFALO, N.Y.-- Special Agent- in-Charge John P. Gilbride of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Field Division (NYFD), and U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that 33 people have been arrested and charged with unlawfully trafficking in prescription pills in a series of indictments and criminal complaints unsealed today in federal court. One person, Michael McCall of Buffalo, was charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise. The narcotics charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 or both while the enterprise charge carries a maximum penalty of life, a mandatory minimum term of 20 years in prison and a fine of $2,000,000.
“With the insurgence of illegal prescription drug abuse, dealers are profiting on the sale of addiction. Justin Doyle gave new meaning to the term ‘full service gas station’ by using his position at a local Buffalo gas station to sell thousands of Oxycontin pills to users who would purchase gas. Doyle was supplied by Michael McCall who organized his network like a business franchise, employing individuals who would ‘doctor shop’ for pain medicine only to resell those medicines to individuals who want the drugs for no other reason than to get high. This investigation proves that opiate addiction is at a high and we are committed to investigating those who are involved in distributing these illegally obtained medications,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe, who is handling the case, stated that the charges stem from a long-term investigation into the widespread illegal sale of prescription drugs in the city of Buffalo and its surrounding suburbs. One of the indictments unsealed today charges Justin Doyle and nine others with distributing OxyContin pills in the Cheektowaga area where Doyle worked as an attendant at a William Street gas station. Doyle is accused of selling pills while at work at the gas station to a broad network of other distributors in Cheektowaga and neighboring towns.
Doyle also had ties to a large-scale prescription pill distribution organization based in Buffalo, alleged to be headed by McCall. The complaint states that McCall managed a series of individuals who obtained prescription OxyContin from Buffalo pharmacies and provided them to McCall. McCall then redistributed the pills to a network of sellers who sold the pills on Strauss Street in Buffalo's Broadway/Fillmore neighborhood.
“When used as directed by a doctor, prescription medications can be a benefit. But when they end up in the hands of the wrong people, especially young people, they can be dangerous, even deadly” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “We know that availability of these prescription drugs and access to them lead to misuse. I encourage everyone to keep very close tabs on your pill bottles and if you no longer need the medication, get rid of it so that it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.”
"We recognize the abuse of prescription medication as a growing problem and are committed to investigating and arresting those responsible for distributing them in our society" said New York State Police Acting Superintendent John P. Melville.
The indictment and complaints were the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride, in conjunction with many state and local authorities such as the New York State Police, the Buffalo Police Department, the Cheektowaga Police Department, the West Seneca Police Department, the Lancaster Police Department, the Amherst Police Department and the Lockport Police Department. The evidence was presented to the Grand Jury by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe, who will handle the trial of the case.
The following individuals were charged with unlawfully distributing OxyContin pills, a powerful prescription painkiller and controlled substance: Justin Doyle, age 22, of West Seneca, Mark Riordan, age 21, of Lancaster, Jason DeWolf, age 35, of Depew, Lindsay Lang, age 18, of Orchard Park, Brenda Sargent, age 43, of Lockport, Jacob Winkowski, age 20, of Cheektowaga, Andrew Meidinger, age 22, of Lancaster, Christopher Priebe, age 23, of Lancaster, Daniel Smythe, age 22, of Cheektowaga, Shawn Zasada, age 25, of West Seneca, James Schuler, age 29, of Buffalo, Tiffany Thompson, age 29, of Buffalo, Christopher Bartolone, age 26, of Lancaster, Bradley Puskar, age 23, of Cheektowaga, Jonathan Wysomierski, age 24, of Cheektowaga, Edwin Santiago, age 49, of Buffalo, Gisale McKienney, age 30, of Buffalo, Michael McCall, age 60, of Cheektowaga, Atiya Johnson, age 29, of Buffalo, Courtney Callahan, age 26, of Buffalo, DeShawn McLorn, age 36, of Buffalo, Rosalind Barnes, age 58, of Buffalo, Otis Boatwright, age 50, of Buffalo, Gwendolyn Grimes, age 59, of Buffalo, Ethel Johnson, age 60, of Buffalo, Christine Layman, age 35, of Buffalo, Elora Lee, age 50, of Buffalo, Joanne Lott, age 60, of Buffalo, Wilma Mack, age 64, of Buffalo, Michael Neely, age 51, of Buffalo, Olivia Paschell, age 40, of Buffalo, Michael Spencer, age 37, of Buffalo and Sophie Wroblewski, age 39, of Buffalo.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.