WILMINGTON, DE – Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, and Vito S. Guarino, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced that Michael Kyle Griffith was sentenced today to serve 54 months in prison for his leadership role in a conspiracy to unlawfully distribute approximately 25,000 Oxycodone pills in Dover, Delaware, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) & (b)(1)(C). Two of Griffith’s associates – Kristopher Collins and Patrick Finfinger – were sentenced earlier this month to prison terms of 48 months and 36 months, respectively. The year-long investigation resulted in the conviction of nine individuals in federal and state courts, including former Dover Police Officer Jason Knight and former Delaware State Correctional Officer Ashley Collins, as well as the seizure of over $200,000 in cash drug proceeds. The investigation was conducted by the Dover office of the DEA, who received critical assistance from the Dover Police Department and the Delaware State Police.
According to facts disclosed at plea and sentencing hearings in the case, during the summer of 2010, the DEA confirmed that packages full of Oxycodone pills were being shipped from a Florida location to Griffith at his home address in Dover, Delaware. In June 2010, one of these packages was intercepted and found to contain approximately 2,000 30 milligram Oxycodone tablets. Federal Express records show that at least 17 such packages were delivered in February, March, April, and May 2010 alone.
On September 27, 2010, Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet authorized the interception of wire and electronic communications over Griffith’s cellular telephone. The intercepted conversations and text messages made it clear that Griffith was the Delaware leader of an interstate Oxycodone distribution ring. In the latter stages of the conspiracy, Griffith was personally driving to Florida, usually with co-defendant Kristopher Collins, to purchase the pills from his source of supply. Upon their return to Delaware, Griffith and Collins would store the pills at Collins’ residence before farming them out in 100-count bags to a network of distributors in the Dover area, including co-defendant Patrick Finfinger.
Chief Judge Sleet observed that “addiction to prescription narcotics is a serious and growing problem in this country,” noting that despite the fact that it “may seem less sinister than sticking a needle in your arm,” Oxycodone abuse is “every bit as dangerous” as using heroin. United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III, echoed Chief Judge Sleet’s sentiments and indicated that “this office is committed to prosecuting cases involving the unlawful sale of Oxycodone pills.” Oberly also emphasized the need for continued collaboration between state and federal law enforcement: “This prosecution was successful because state and federal agencies worked together. This type of teamwork is necessary for us to continue to investigate and prosecute serious drug offenders.”
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Vito S. Guarino said, “This case sends a clear message that the DEA views trafficking in illegal prescription drugs as a serious crime. Oxycodone dealers are on notice that the DEA and its law enforcement partners will use of the investigative resources necessary to bring them to justice.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn A. Weede for the District of Delaware.