Former Mercer County Pharmacist Charged with Illegally Distributing Oxycodone and Other Opiates from Trenton Pharmacy
TRENTON, N.J. – Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division Susan A. Gibson and U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Philip R. Sellinger announced a former pharmacist was arrested today for her role in distributing and dispensing outside the course of professional practice large quantities of oxycodone and other controlled substances from a pharmacy located in Trenton.
Florence Ndubizu, 62, of Princeton Junction, New Jersey, is charged in a three-count indictment unsealed today with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense and to possess with intent to distribute and to dispense Schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone, between 2014 and 2017; one count of unlawfully distributing and dispensing a controlled substance; and one count of maintaining a premises for the illegal distribution of a controlled substance. Ndubizu is scheduled to make her initial appearance by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni.
Between 2014 and 2017, Ndubizu was the co-owner and pharmacist-in-charge of Healthcare Pharmacy in Trenton. She and her employee conspirators, acting at her direction, systematically filled fraudulent prescriptions outside the usual course of professional practice, knowing that the drugs would not be used for a legitimate medical purpose, but instead would be illegally diverted, including to street-level drug dealers. Ndubizu, operating a single-location pharmacy, purchased and distributed millions of dosage units of oxycodone, including over 800,000 pills in 2014; over 900,000 pills in 2015; over 800,000 pills in 2016; and over 200,000 pills in 2017, until the DEA suspended the pharmacy’s registration. During each of the years 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, Healthcare Pharmacy was one of the largest purchasers of oxycodone in the state of New Jersey. On Aug. 31, 2017, the DEA served Ndubizu with an order immediately suspending Healthcare Pharmacy’s ability to distribute controlled substances, including oxycodone.
Ndubizu diverted oxycodone pills to cash-paying customers, including street-level drug dealers with fraudulent prescriptions, and then evaded state and federal reporting requirements by manipulating the pharmacy’s dispensing records to conceal the missing inventory. The DEA conducted an audit of Healthcare Pharmacy’s inventory records and government reporting records and found that between April 2015 and August 2017 alone, Ndubizu and Healthcare Pharmacy diverted more than 80,000 oxycodone containing pills, containing more than 2 kilograms of oxycodone.
The conspiracy charged in Count One and substantive unlawful distribution of Schedule II controlled substances charged in Count Two each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. Count Three, charging Ndubizu with maintaining Healthcare Pharmacy as a drug-involved premises carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited diversion investigators, special agents and task force officers of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. He also thanked special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation, officers of the Trenton Police Department, and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance.