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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
September 20, 2005

For further Information Contact:
DEA Special Agent Douglas S. Collier,
Public Information Officer
TEL: (973) 776-1143
CELL: (862) 849-9833
FBI Special Agent Steve Seigel
Public Information Officer
TEL: (973) 792-3020
CELL: 973 277-4258

DEA and FBI Charge Medical Doctor and Nine Others in Oxycontin Diversion Ring

Special Agent in Charge Michael Pasterchick, Jr., of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Special Agent in Charge Leslie G. Wiser, Jr., of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today that the DEA, FBI and the Northern New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force arrested a medical doctor and nine other individuals who have been charged with illegal diversion and distribution of the prescription pain management drug OxyContin. These charges result from a long-running undercover operation code-named: “PILL COLLECTOR” which to date has resulted in the arrests of 27 other individual involved in similar illegal conduct.

The cooperative investigation brought together the resources and experience of the DEA, FBI, and HIDTA in order to disrupt the ever-growing illegal market for prescription narcotics in the Northern New Jersey region. The individuals charged were part of a large distribution and diversion ring which operated in Essex, Passaic, Ocean, and Morris counties. The arrests were based on complaints filed by the New Jersey Divisions of the DEA and FBI. Additionally, several Federal search warrants were executed today in support of this significant takedown.

The following individuals were charged:

1. Malissa Bucca – age 30, Beachwood, NJ
2. Frank Constantino - age 47, Belleville, NJ
3. Brian Davis – age 28, Beachwood, NJ
4. Denise Fiumefreddo – age 46, Belleville, NJ
5. Allesandra Hammed – age 19, East Hanover, NJ
6. Dr. Joan Jaszczult - age 44, Bloomfield, NJ
7. James Messina – age 24, Nutley, NJ
8. Arthur Muratovic – age 38, Beachwood, NJ
9. Michael Sargese - age 28 Bloomfield, NJ
10. Dawn Terrazino – age 46, Newark, NJ

The investigation resulted in the identification of Dr. Joan E. Jaszczult, a New Jersey physician, who accepted cash payments in her Bloomfield, NJ office in exchange for writing excessive amounts of prescriptions for OxyContin as well as for other Oxycodone-based narcotics. The individuals charged were able to obtain the prescriptions from Dr. Jaszczult in their names for non-existent medical conditions. They were also able to obtain them in the names of individuals whom the doctor had never examined, diagnosed, treated, or otherwise met. In order to avoid detection, the cash paying “patients” utilized a large number of national and independently owned pharmacies to fill the illegally obtained prescriptions. Once in possession of the actual pills, the “patients” would sell them, for huge profits, to a middleman who would then further distribute them for additional profits.

This investigation was conducted in cooperation with the DEA, FBI, and the Northern New Jersey HIDTA Task Force which is made up by members of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), New Jersey State Police, Bayonne Police Department, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Sheriff-Bureau of Narcotics, Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, Elizabeth Police Department, Newark Police Department, Glen Ridge Police Department, Paterson Police Department, Jersey City Police Department, Fort Lee Police Department and Union City Police Department. Additionally, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and the New Jersey National Guard assisted the Northern New Jersey HIDTA with the investigation.

The investigation is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey headed by U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie. Jonathan Romankow is the Assistant United States Attorney who will represent the Government.

The initial appearance will be at approximately 2:00 pm, this afternoon in Newark at the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, in front of a United States Magistrate Judge Susan Wigenton.

Notwithstanding the criminal complaint, every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The federal complaint charges the defendants with conspiracy and distribution of a schedule II narcotic. If convicted of the above charges, each defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million dollar fine.

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