October 19, 2011
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Doctor And Associates As Members Of A Conspiracy To Distribute Oxycodone And Cocaine
WHITE PLAINS, NY. - Wilbert L. Plummer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the arrests today of Fernando DeJesus, Efrain DeJesus, Felix Rodriguez, Carol Reynolds, Laurie Melo, and Juan Melo with conspiring to distribute oxycodone and cocaine. They were presented today in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison. All were detained without bail except Rodriguez, who was held pending satisfaction of bail conditions imposed by the court.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “It is particularly disturbing when a physician, entrusted to be a healer and caregiver, allegedly engages with co-conspirators to traffic in oxycodone. Properly prescribed, oxycodone is a remedy in pain management. Improperly used, it is a highly addictive and possibly lethal drug. That some of the conspirators in this case also allegedly dealt cocaine only emphasizes the dangerous proximity of the illegal diversion of prescription medication and the trafficking of other illegal drugs. We will now prosecute these defendants to the full extent of the law.”
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Wilbert L. Plummer stated: “Today’s arrests place a doctor whose oath was to keep people healthy, and his drug distribution organization behind bars. Dr. Felix Rodriguez hid behind his white jacket while overseeing and facilitating an oxycodone distribution ring based in the Bronx, New York. The abuse of diverted prescription pain medication is the fastest growing drug problem in our country and law enforcement has combined our efforts from the state, local and federal levels to identify and investigate those responsible at all levels and types of illegal drug distribution. I would like to thank all the law enforcement organizations that collaborated in this investigation.”
According to the Complaint unsealed today in White Plains federal court:
From the spring of 2009 through at least May 2011, Fernando DeJesus, his father Efrain DeJesus, his sister, Laurie Melo, and his cousin, Juan Melo, worked with Carol Reynolds and Felix Rodriguez to distribute oxycodone and cocaine. Felix Rodriguez, a doctor who maintains an office in Manhattan, provided Fernando DeJesus, Efrain DeJesus, Laurie Melo, Carol Reynolds, and certain of their associates with prescriptions for oxycodone, knowing that they would use these prescriptions to obtain oxycodone for the purpose of re-selling it on the black market rather than for a legitimate medical purpose. Fernando DeJesus, Efrain DeJesus, Juan Melo, and Carol Reynolds would then re-sell this oxycodone for cash. During the period of the conspiracy charged in the Complaint, these co-conspirators sold thousands of oxycodone pills for a total of at least 425 grams of oxycodone.
In addition to selling oxycodone, Fernando DeJesus, Efrain DeJesus, Carol Reynolds, Laurie Melo, and Juan Melo conspired to distribute cocaine. These co-conspirators used a stash house in the Bronx, New York, as their base of operation and sold cocaine to customers in Yonkers and the Bronx. During the period of the conspiracy charged in the Complaint, these co-conspirators sold over five kilograms of cocaine.
Fernando DeJesus, 33, Efrain DeJesus, 64, Felix Rodriguez, 50, Carol Reynolds, 53, Laurie Melo, 41, and Juan Melo, 22, all of Bronx, New York, are charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the narcotics laws of the United States. The Complaint charges that the controlled substances involved in the offense were oxycodone and 5 kilograms and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine. Upon conviction, they face a maximum penalty of life in prison, with a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a fine of $10 million.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative efforts of the DEA, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Marshals Service, the New York State Police, the Mount Vernon Police Department and the Yonkers Police Department in this case.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Alberts and Abigail Kurland are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.