A federal judge accepted the guilty pleas of at least 10 different members of a Maryland Oxycodone drug ring on Friday, Feb. 9. They'd been accused of having passed falsified prescriptions at the Christiansburg Kroger store and other pharmacies throughout Lynchburg, Roanoke and Blacksburg.
It's estimated that the band of 15 may have used as many as 44 fraudulent prescriptions to accumulate well over 3,000 of tablets of the addictive drug over the course of eight weeks during the spring of 2015.
Prior to the defendants entering plea deals, prosecutors revealed what had first sparked Virginia State Police's investigation. They'd reportedly received a call in from one of the pharmacies some of the defendants visited. That caller had reported his or her suspicions that potentially fraudulent prescriptions had been turned in there.
When it happened a second time, police were already on high alert. They were able to arrive in time to take four of the defendants into custody there at the store.
Still photographs taken by surveillance cameras at the stores where the fraudulent prescriptions were used to identify many of the defendants.
Investigators were reportedly never able to recover the thousands of pills they acquired.
Among the charges the defendants had been brought up on in this case, they include procuring controlled substances fraudulently, conspiracy, drug possession and intent to distribute ones. They also faced charges for having used someone else's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number also.
While 10 of the defendants have already entered guilty pleas, another one plans to do so in March. Two have elected to stand trial in their cases and another two remain at large. Although one defendant said he knew that the prescriptions they were passing were fake, none ever revealed how they procured the supplies necessary to produce them.
Potential sentences for narcotics offenses tend to increase the more you're found with and the more addictive the drug is believed to be. In learning more about your case, a Christiansburg drug possession attorney can advise you of penalties you may be looking at in your own case.
Source: The Roanoke Times, "Members of pill ring that targeted Roanoke-area pharmacies plead guilty," Jeff Sturgeon, Feb. 09, 2018