Brooklyn, NY – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the 49-count Conspiracy Indictment of six people who sold to students and young professionals tens of thousands of illegal prescription painkillers and behavior-modifying drugs, shipped monthly from California.
“This criminal enterprise does not produce dirty needles or crack pipes or addicts lying wasted in alleys and doorways, but it is nonetheless a very serious threat,” said District Attorney Hynes. “Much like professional athletes who once believed steroids could improve their performance and were not harmful to them, these young people are abusing pharmaceuticals not simply to get high, but often to improve their performance at work and at school, and while it may be viewed by them as clean and safe – make no mistake, they are as addicted and often as at risk, as anyone pumping heroin into a vein. I would like to thank the NYPD, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca for their assistance in this investigation.”
Defendants Haim Avila-Romero, 22, and Mischa Pinchuk, 22, are charged with procuring prescription drugs, such as Adderall and Vicodin, in California and sending them, via FedEx, to Pinchas Goldshtein, at a private postal business in Brooklyn. Goldshtein would then deposit money in a bank account in Brooklyn, and Avila-Romero and Pinchuk would withdraw it in Los Angeles, according to the indictment.
Goldshtein, 26, is charged with receiving pills by the thousands and distributing them to a network of wholesale-level dealers, including Miguel Medina, 45; Evan Vaughn, 28; and Henry C. Fertik, 23, who dealt to users. Medina, of the Bronx, also served as one of Goldshtein’s suppliers, occasionally exchanging one type of pill for another, according to the indictment.
The organization’s retail customers included students and young professionals, many of whom contacted dealers through Craigslist. The defendants are charged with laundering up to $500,000 in drug money, and selling pills worth $1 million.
Charges include Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, and Money Laundering in the Second Degree. The defendants face up to 25 years in prison.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
The case was investigated by the NYPD’s Kings County District Attorney Squad, including Detective Gerard Amato, and under the direction of Captain Janine Irizarry; and by KCDA Detective Investigators Bob Kenevan, Bill Petite, Anthony Schembri, and John Beale, and Supervising Detective Investigators Joe Piraino, Jim Russell and Ed Murphy.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Rajeev Garg, Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau Deputy Bureau Chief Patrick Cappock and MNIB Bureau Chief Lawrence Oh. Suzanne Corhan is Chief of the Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau.
(YWN Desk – NYC)