March 25, 2015
Contact: SA Elaine Cesare
Phone Number: (571) 324-7520
Twenty-Three Individuals Charged In A Prescription Drug Distribution Conspiracy
DALLAS - An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Dallas last month, and unsealed late yesterday, charges 23 individuals with offenses related to their participation in a prescription drug distribution conspiracy, announced John Parker, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
The defendants charged are:
Sina Athari, 24, of Houston, Texas
Shane Barron, 27, of Austin, Texas
Carolina Giselle Berrio, a/k/a “Carolina Slocum Berrio” and “Karrie,” 36, of Lafayette, Louisiana
Angela Moore Booth, 48, of Lafayette, Louisiana
Earl Cain, 53, of Houston, Texas
Glenda Cane, 46, of Houston, Texas
Lashavia Syneice Denson, a/k/a “Shae Denson” and “Shay Denson,” 26, of Houston, Texas
Jason Edgecombe, 38, of Houston, Texas
Darlene Viola Fortenberry, 69, of Houston, Texas
Bertha Alicia Garcia, 49, of Houston, Texas
Tony Sue Griggs, 34, of Dallas, Texas
William Hopkins, a/k/a “New York,” 53, of Dallas, Texas
Fahim Ahmed Khan, 57, of Houston, Texas
Candis O’Shaea Lewis, 29, of Dallas, Texas
Patrick Moore, a/k/a/ “Crowley,” 23, of Lafayette, Louisiana
Ivery Myers, 63, of Houston, Texas
Taneisha Nicole Nickerson, a/k/a “Nookie,” 28, of Houston, Texas
Cornelius Delshun Robinson, a/k/a “Tadow,” 36, of Houston, Texas
Shalisa Shaunta Robinson, a/k/a “Shalisa Speed,” 29, of Houston, Texas
Markii Josett Shular, 30, of Dallas, Texas
Tasmin Jamal Stewart, a/k/a “Taz,” 30, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Muhammad Taylor, 32 of Houston, Texas
Cy Viator, 32, of Houston, Texas
Twenty-one of the 23 defendants have been taken into custody in Texas and Louisiana. Each indicted defendant is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Nineteen of the defendants are also charged with unlawful use of a communication facility.
The indictment alleges that from at least May 2013 through July 2014, these individuals participated in a scheme to illicitly obtain prescriptions for pain medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and then distribute those controlled substances for profit. As part of the conspiracy, individuals, often homeless or of limited means, were recruited and paid a fee to pose as patients at medical clinics, including the McAllen Medical Clinic in Dallas, to obtain prescriptions and to fill those prescriptions at designated pharmacies. The organizers, sometimes referred to as “script ring leaders,” paid the recruits, the costs of the clinic visits, and the costs to fill the prescriptions. The script ring leaders then obtained the pharmaceuticals and distributed them for profit in Dallas, Austin, Houston and Louisiana.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. The maximum statutory penalty for the offense charged in Count 1 is 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum statutory penalty for each of the offenses charged in Counts 2-27 is four years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Louisiana State Police, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Arlington Police Department, the Greenville Police Department, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Diplomatic Security Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters is prosecuting the case.