Drug Enforcement Administration

Washington, DC

Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge

October 12, 2006

Contact: Public Information Officer

Phone Number: (202) 305-8426

Four Defendants Indicted for Conspiracy to Distribute Over 8 Million Dosage Units of Hydrocodone and to Launder Money

(Baltimore, Maryland) - A federal grand jury indicted the following defendants for conspiring to distribute, outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, at least eight million dosage units of hydrocodone and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with the distribution of hydrocodone, announced Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office Carl J. Kotwoski, and United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein:

  • Steven Abiodun Sodipo, age 50, of Forest Hill, Maryland;
  • Callixtus Onigbo Nwaehiri, age 48, of Jarrettsville, Maryland;
  • Ahmed Alhaji Abdulrazaaq, age 48, of Forest Hill, Maryland; and
  • Nannette C. Patterson, age 48, of Baltimore, Maryland.

The indictment was returned on October 4, 2006 and unsealed today after the arrests of the defendants.

All four defendants are employed at Newcare Pharmacy, also known as Newcare Home Health Services, located in the 3400 block of Sinclair Lane, Baltimore City. Hydrocodone is a schedule III, opioid that is prescribed as a cough suppressant and for the treatment of moderate to moderately severe pain.

The two-count indictment seeks forfeiture of $20 million, the amount of gross proceeds received from the illegal sale of eight million dosage units of hydrocodone from January 2005 to October, 2006. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of the homes, bank accounts and motor vehicles of some of the defendants.

"Today's arrest shut down a pharmacy that illegally distributed in excess of 8 million ($20, 000,000.00) dosage units of the highly additive opiate based pain killer Hydrocodone", brand name Vicodin, stated Carl J. Kotowski, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office. Kotowski stated that "customers were just a mouse click away from their dealer, and that this investigation represents the largest criminal pharmaceutical drug investigation in DEA Baltimore history”.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for the drug conspiracy and 20 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for the money laundering conspiracy. The defendants are expected to have their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Baltimore this afternoon.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Drug Enforcement Administration; Baltimore City Police, Baltimore County Police, The State of Maryland Pharmacy Board, Maryland Department of Drug Control, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; the Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General; and the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistants U.S. Attorney Andrea Smith and Jennifer Wright, who are prosecuting the case.

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