News Release
March 31, 2010
Contact: Special Agent David Melenkevitz
Number: 954-660-4602

Pinellas County Oxycodone Traffickers Using Fraudulent Prescription Scheme Sentenced

MAR 31 -- (Tampa, FL) – Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville and United States Attorney A. Brian Albritton announced yesterday that U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday sentenced five defendants to federal prison who had pleaded guilty to possess with intent to distribute and to distributing Oxycodone as part of a Pinellas County fraudulent prescription scheme: Juan Ramos, age 21, was sentenced to 7 years; Jonathan Hamblin, age 21, was sentenced to almost 4 years; James Dooley, age 41, was sentenced to over 6 years; Alexis Beltran, age 25, was sentenced to almost 6 years; and Luis Quiles, age 41, was sentenced to over 6 years. Judge Merryday continued the sentencing of another co-defendant, William Mitchell IV, age 52, for thirty (30) days. Previously, three additional defendants were sentenced in separate cases involving the same fraudulent prescription scheme. On January 25, 2010, Judge James D. Whittemore sentenced Moises Rosario, age 28, to over 9 years in federal prison, and on December 7, 2009, Judge Whittmore sentenced Pedro Baez, age 34, to almost 8 years. On March 16, 2010, Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington sentenced Lawrence McCarthy, age 40, to 7 years in federal prison. All of the defendants are from Pinellas County.

According to court documents filed in connection with the defendants' guilty pleas, Mary Powers and Robert Whitney (who were previously sentenced to federal prison by Judge Whittemore in October 2009), authored and generated hundreds of fraudulent prescriptions on their home computers that the defendants then filled. Powers and Whitney used the DEA numbers and addresses of local area physicians on the prescriptions, but listed a telephone number connected to a cell phone that Powers and Whitney used to pose as doctor's office personnel when a pharmacy called to verify a prescription. Each prescription was written for 240 30 mg Oxycodone tablets, and the defendants returned a portion of the pills to Powers and Whitney. The fraudulent prescriptions were passed and filled at Trinity Pharmacy, Baycare Pharmacy, or Seminole Drugs in Pinellas County.

These defendants are part of large group of approximately fifty co-conspirators who were prosecuted jointly by federal and state authorities. Their cases were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, and the Clearwater Police Department.

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