August 13, 2014
Contact: Timothy P. McMahon
Phone Number: (973) 776-1143
Essex County, N.J., Pharmacist, 15 Others, Charged With Illegal Drug Distribution
NEWARK, N.J. - Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division and Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, announced a Belleville, New Jersey, pharmacist and 15 others were charged today for their roles in a scheme to fraudulently obtain and distribute oxycodone.
The defendants are each charged by criminal complaint with a single count of conspiring to possess and distribute oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance. Federal agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration Tactical Diversion Squad arrested 12 of the defendants today and two on Aug. 12, 2014. The defendants in custody are making their initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court. Two defendants remain at large.
According to the complaint:
Using confidential sources, physical surveillance, and recorded text messages and telephone calls, investigators with the DEA discovered that members and suppliers of a drug trafficking (DTO) secured prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances from various doctors in New Jersey, filled them at pharmacies in Belleville and elsewhere, and sold the drugs for a profit. The investigation identified Victoria Horvath, 42, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, as a senior member of the DTO, who obtained and filled prescriptions for controlled substances and then distributed them.
Vincent Cozzarelli, 77, of Belleville, is a pharmacist and owner of Rossmore Pharmacy in Belleville. The investigation revealed that Cozzarelli supplied Victoria Horvath and the DTO with oxycodone and other controlled substances even though he knew the prescriptions were fraudulently obtained and that the DTO would illegally distribute the controlled substances.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl. J Kotowski, and members of the Belleville PD and Elizabeth PD for the investigation leading to the arrests.The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlton A. Rugg of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in Newark.