PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A dozen people are charged in an alleged prescription drug ring.
They’re accused of carrying an elaborate scheme to obtain and sell pain medication.
“Terrifying, sad stories of parents who buried children who became addicted to these medications,” said U.S. Attorney David Hickton.
Hickton is referring to the abuse of prescription drugs — primarily pain medications.
But a big drug bust netting a dozen defendants operating in Allegheny and Beaver counties may get some of the stuff — like Oxycodone and Opana — off the streets.
“We had virtually everything,” Hickton said. “We have the theft of prescription pads. We have the burglary of pharmacies.
Charged with being the ringleader is David Best, 27, of Coraopolis. Best is accused of brandishing a gun while stealing from the MedFast Pharmacy in Baden three times in the last three years.
“And we charge in one of the indictments that one of the perpetrators caused the death of one of the users,” Hickton said.
Katie Adams, 27, and Carlos Martinez, 26, both of Ambridge are also charged in those robberies.
And charged with conspiracy is Matthew Moody, 24, of Baden; Jade Gagianas, 28, of Freedom; Andrew Brown, 23, of Eighty Four and Ryan Raithel, 33, of Wexford.
Five others are charged with narcotics violations and witness intimidation.
“We have witness intimidation through Facebook and other means,” Hickton.
Corralling prescription abuse is now a priority with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
In 2011, there were 2.3 million people ages 12 and older who used prescription drugs for the first time for non-medical reasons according to Gary Davis, a Special Agent with the DEA.
“It’s probably the no. 1 abused drug here in this area – it’s right along heroin,” Hickton said.
Hickton also added that the leaders of this crime organization were making staggering amounts on money.