Three Face Charges Stemming From Sale of Over $2 Million in Painkiller Drugs on Black Market
OAKLAND – Javier F. Peña, Special Agent in Charge for the DEA San Francisco Field Division and United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that three individuals– two Bay Area residents and a Houston, Texas, resident – were charged in a 40-count indictment relating to the illegal distribution of large quantities of codeine and other painkillers from California to Texas.
" The dangers of drugs are not only from dealers on street corners. Addiction can start at the hands of criminals who recognize the commodity of legal, helpful medicines that instead of easing pain and treating victims, can kill and cause damage to users," said Peña.
U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan stated, "This case serves as a reminder that the illegal distribution of prescription drugs and the laundering of those proceeds is a serious crime that can result in felony charges."
A federal grand jury in Oakland yesterday indicted Chuka E. Ogele and his wife Jeri Ogele of American Canyon, and Frederick Lamar Lindsey, of Houston, Texas, with illegally distributing controlled substances, conspiracy to illegally transport and distribute controlled substances, and money laundering, among other charges. The indictment was unsealed at their initial appearances this morning. These charges are the result of an investigation by Special Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.
Mr. Ogele, 44, is chairman, and Mrs. Ogele is the vice-chair, of International Surplus Medical Products (ISMP), a non-profit corporation allegedly set up to distribute medicine to AIDS victims in Nigeria. According to the indictment, Mr. Ogele is alleged to have illegally possessed with the intent to distribute Schedule III and V controlled substances, including: hydrocodone, acetamin with codeine, and promethazine with codeine. Mr. Ogele allegedly laundered and conducted monetary transactions exceeding $1 million in an unlawful distribution scheme.
Mrs. Ogele, 47, is charged with conspiring and engaging in monetary transactions with the proceeds of illegal activity. Mr. Lindsey, 47, is alleged to have conspired to possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and V controlled substances, and to have used the mail and aided and abetted in other persons traveling with the intent to unlawfully distribute controlled substances by a business enterprise.
Mr. Ogele and Ms. Ogele were arrested this morning at their American Canyon residence, and made their initial appearances in federal court today in Oakland, and were released on bond of $1 million. Mr. Lindsey has not been arrested. Mr. and Ms. Ogele are scheduled to appear at 10:00 a.m. on August 7, 2006, for further bail proceedings, and to surrender their passports, before Magistrate Judge Wayne D. Brazil.
Maximum statutory penalties for each count are the following:
However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Ogele, Ms. Ogele, and Mr. Lindsey must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
George Bevan Jr. is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kathleen Glynn. The prosecution is the result of a 2-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.