BUFFALO, NY. - Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) John P. Gilbride and U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced last night that Michael McCallum, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y., was arrested and charged by criminal Complaint with robbery of a pharmacy in violation of the federal Hobbs Act, and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $1,250,000 fine.
DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride said, “Over the past few years DEA has seen an increase in pharmacy robberies, which goes hand in hand with the increase of abuse of illicitly distributed prescription medications throughout our nation. This arrest in Buffalo is the epitome of the extent drug traffickers will go in order to make a profit off the sale of illegally diverted drugs. Michael McCallum viciously robbed a pharmacy in order to steal a variety of prescription pain medication which would be resold to drug users on the streets. There is no difference between prescription drug trafficking and drug trafficking of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, etc. In the end, all drug trafficking leads to is jail.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Gillmeister, who is handling the case, stated that according to the Complaint, on December 31, 2010, the defendant entered the Clinton Pharmacy on Clinton St. in Buffalo, N.Y. Wearing a black hood and white surgical mask over his nose and mouth, McCallum proceeded to the restricted area of the store where the pharmacy’s inventory or controlled substances were kept. The defendant vaulted over a counter which separated the restricted from the public areas and proceeded to put the pharmacy employees in fear of injury, inducing the pharmacy staff to show him where the store’s oxycodone supplies were located. The defendant thereafter grabbed approximately 1,341 oxycodone tablets and ran out of the pharmacy to a waiting automobile. The oxycodone tablets were valued at approximately $37,000.
The Complaint also alleges that several days after the robbery, McCallum sold approximately 8.81 grams of oxycodone to a person working with the DEA. The ensuing investigation determined that markings on the sold oxycodone coincided with those stolen from the Clinton Pharmacy on December 31, 2010.
“This case is yet another excellent example of our local and federal police agencies working together and using all of the law enforcement tools and statutes available,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Our Office will continue to work closely and diligently with the Buffalo Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the rest of our law enforcement partners to combat the illegal sale of prescription drugs, and to keep our area’s businesses safe and open to the public.”
The charge of obtaining, and attempting to obtain, controlled substances by fraud, forgery, or deception, carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison. The health care fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
The arrests were the result of an investigation on the part of Special Agents and officers of the DEA, the Niagara Falls Police Department, the New York State Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (NYS-BNE), the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, New York Field Division, the New York State Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the Niagara County Sheriff's Drug Task Force.
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.