Pharmacist Found Guilty of Illegally Dispensing and Distributing Controlled Substances
ATLANTA - Thomas Ukoshovbera A. Gbenedio has been convicted by a federal jury of illegally dispensing and distributing controlled substances from his pharmacy.
“Removing and ultimately eliminating healthcare providers who unlawfully dispense pharmaceutical products for non-medical reasons is an important part of DEA’s mission,” said Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy. “This pharmacist not only distributed copious quantities of opiate-based pills to scores of drug-seeking patients but collected large sums of money from this illegal practice. Gbenedio will no longer be able to commit such unlawful acts due to the hard work and dedication put forth by our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts who made this investigation a success.”
“As a pharmacist, Gbenedio was trusted to appropriately dispense controlled substances,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “His behavior fed into the continuing problem of addiction to powerful prescription opioids, which, unfortunately, continues to take a daily toll on many members of our community.”
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges and other information presented in court: Gbenedio was a licensed pharmacist who owned Better Way Pharmacy in Mableton, Georgia. An investigation into Gbenedio began after Georgia Drug & Narcotics Agency (GDNA) agents conducted a routine inspection at Better Way and noticed that several of Gbenedio’s customers were driving long distances - including from Kentucky and Alabama - to get prescriptions filled at Better Way. Several of the prescriptions were for large quantities of highly addictive opioids, like oxycodone, and many of the prescriptions were purportedly from the same physician.
The investigation later revealed that the prescriptions being filled by Gbenedio between 2014 and 2016 were not real prescriptions; they were fake, forged, fraudulent, or otherwise illegal. Gbenedio charged his customers up to $1,000 to fill the illegal prescriptions for controlled substances.
After a two-week jury trial, Gbenedio was convicted of 70 counts of illegally dispensing and distributing controlled substances and one count of refusing an administrative inspection warrant.
Once the jury announced its verdict, Gbenedio was ordered to report to Probation for location monitoring. Instead of reporting, Gbenedio attempted to flee. He was apprehended at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport with the assistance of U.S. Marshals.
Sentencing for Thomas Ukoshovbera A. Gbenedio, 71, of Mableton, Georgia, is scheduled for February 7, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela Adams and Erin N. Spritzer are prosecuting the case.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.CampusDrugPrevention.gov, and www.dea.gov . Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv