The U.S. Justice Department takes a dim view of the sale of illicit drugs. Nine individuals were recently arrested in Houston and charged with illegally selling drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.
The alleged drug crimes
According to court documents, the suspects operated pharmacies as fronts to obtain opioids that were the highest strength variety of such pills. The defendants allegedly sold the drugs on the black market without patients, prescriptions or doctors. The sales were allegedly made to known drug traffickers.
The buyers then allegedly concealed their resale proceeds in numerous bank accounts and real estate transactions. The resellers also are alleged to have used some of the proceeds to purchase luxury goods and vehicles including a Rolls-Royce, a Ford F-250 and a Mercedes-Maybach (which has a list price of $165,000).
Starting in December 2020, two of the defendants and a licensed pharmacist allegedly used various pharmacies to purchase and illegally distribute nearly half a million pills of oxycodone and hydrocodone. Two of the defendants allegedly purchased what are called “opioid potentiators,” including alprazolam, carisoprodol and promethazine with codeine. These substances are reputed to enhance and prolong the high from ordinary opioids.
The drugs were purchased from a pharmaceutical wholesaler and a pharmaceutical sales representative and then distributors in bulk. In this case, the defendants used numerous bank accounts and real estate transactions to hide the transactions.
Six of the defendants were charged with the illegal distribution of Schedule II opioids. Five of the defendants were charged with illegal distribution of Schedule IV drugs. Four of the defendants have also been charged with various money laundering cries.
Convictions on the most serious of these crimes could result in decades of imprisonment. Moreover, court documents reveal that more than 15 bank accounts and four real properties were involved in the schemes, and the luxury vehicles noted above are subject to forfeiture if the defendants are convicted.
Federal drug charges are serious, particularly when they involve alleged drug trafficking. Still, it’s important to remember that people charged with crimes have the right to a defense.