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Leader of Sarasota Oxycodone Distribution Ring Pleads Guilty

AUG 01 (TAMPA, Fla.) –Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and A. Lee Bentley III, Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced today that Robert Benefield (44, Sarasota) pleaded guilty to a one count information charging him with conspiring with others to distribute oxycodone.  Benefield faces a maximum penalty of thirty years in federal prison because of his prior felony drug convictions.

According to the plea agreement, in 2012, Benefield recruited drug users to unlawfully obtain oxycodone and other prescription pain medications. Benefield coordinated with doctors in the Miami area, and drove his co-conspirators, from Sarasota, to these doctors' offices in Miami.  The doctors sometimes met with persons recruited by Benefield, and gave them prescriptions for oxycodone and other pain medications. Upon their return to Sarasota, the co-conspirators filled the prescriptions and turned the drugs over to Benefield for further illegal distribution, in exchange for money and drugs. Benefield also obtained prescriptions from doctors without having the prescribed patients actually present at the doctors' offices.

This case was investigated by the DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Sarasota Police Department as part of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation SRQ Cartel II, an ongoing investigation into the most serious drug traffickers in and around Sarasota. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation's illegal drug supply.






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