Queens Pharmacy Operator charged with Obstruction of Justice for sending powder cocaine to DEA Investigator's home
NEW YORK - Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), and Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced today that Dimitrios LYMBERATOS, the operator of a Queens pharmacy, has been charged with obstruction of justice for arranging for a package containing white powder, later identified as cocaine, to be sent to the home address of a DEA Diversion Investigator who was investigating LYMBERATOS’s pharmacy. LYMBERATOS surrendered to the DEA this morning and will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses in Manhattan federal court later today.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Raymond P. Donovan said: “Today’s arrest is another example to the public that pharmacy owners can set out to do harm with ill intent. One of our own Diversion Investigators was allegedly targeted simply for doing their job, and as such, Mr. Lymberatos’s alleged actions were completely unconscionable. Thankfully, due to the diligent work of our Tactical Diversion Squads, he will be brought to justice.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “When Dimitrios Lymberatos learned his pharmacy was under investigation by the DEA, he allegedly took sinister action against a Diversion Investigator assigned to his case. Lymberatos allegedly sought to interfere with the investigation through intimidation, by sending cocaine to the Investigator’s home, potentially causing physical harm. Lymberatos’ misguided message was received loud and clear – and he now faces the possibility of a lengthy prison term for his potentially harmful attempt to obstruct law enforcement.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said: “I want to commend the officers, detectives, federal agents, and prosecutors who worked together to investigate the dangerous acts alleged in these charges.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today: LYMBERATOS is the operator of a pharmacy in Queens, New York. Beginning in or about November. 2019, the DEA, led by a DEA Diversion Investigator, conducted an overt regulatory investigation into the pharmacy, which had the effect of delaying the issuance of the pharmacy’s registration to dispense controlled substances. LYMBERATOS responded to the investigation of his pharmacy by taking steps to obstruct the investigation, including hiring a private investigator to obtain the Diversion Investigator’s home address, and then causing to be mailed to the Diversion Investigator’s home a greeting card containing a white powdery substance, which law enforcement later determined to be cocaine. Upon receiving the package with white powder, the Diversion Investigator immediately notified law enforcement, which responded to the scene, and the Diversion Investigator was taken to the hospital for toxicology screening. LYMBERATOS caused the package to be sent to the Diversion Investigator in order to interfere with and obstruct the pending investigation into his pharmacy by threatening the Diversion Investigator, deliberately causing the Diversion Investigator to fear for her physical safety, and seeking to create trouble for the Diversion Investigator by causing her to come into possession of an illegal controlled substance.
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LYMBERATOS, 34, of Queens, New York, is charged with one count of obstruction of justice and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s New York Tactical Diversion Squad, which comprises agents and officers from the DEA, the NYPD, the New York State Police, New York State Department of Financial Services, New York National Guard, New York City Department of Investigation, and New York State Department of Health Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. Ms. Strauss also praised the outstanding work of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) New York Strike Force Tactical Diversion Squad. The OCDETF New York Strike Force is a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies supported by the OCDETF and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The Strike Force is affiliated with the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA, NYPD New York State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, New York National Guard, Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department, and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
This case is being handled by SDNY's Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Jacob R. Fiddelman and Kedar S. Bhatia are in charge of the prosecution. The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.