Lehigh Valley

Pennsylvania A.G. charges 13 in Oxycodone ring

Authorities said scam netted $54K in fake scripts

S. WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - State investigators have filed charges against more than a dozen people for their roles in filling fake prescriptions for nearly 2,000 Oxycodone tablets using a stolen prescription pad.

Investigators with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s narcotics bureau filed charges on June 2, and the first six defendants surrendered Tuesday. District Judge Jacob Hammond arraigned five Allentown residents and one Reading resident.

Each defendant was released on unsecured bail.

St. Luke’s Orthopedic Specialist at 801 Ostrum St. notified the Fountain Hill Police Department on April 7 that someone had stolen a prescription pad from the office. Fountain Hill police requested that the attorney general’s office take over the investigation.

Investigators ran a report on the doctor authorized to write prescriptions from the Fountain Hill office and came up with seven suspicious prescriptions, according to court records. While running a Pennsylvania Prescription Monitoring Program report, investigators said they found five more names they found suspicious.

Those prescriptions were written under the DEA number of a different doctor from the same practice, according to records.

Authorities said an office manager reviewed the list and found that none of the names were patients of the practice. St. Luke’s also received an anonymous email alleging that William “Drama” Huggins was the person behind the stolen prescriptions, according to records.

Investigators learned that prescriptions were filed at the following pharmacies:

  • Rite Aid, 1401 W. Tilghman St. in Allentown;
  • Rite Aid, 524 N. Sixth St., in Reading;
  • CVS, 1600 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., South Whitehall Twp.;
  • Rite Aid, 361 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., Allentown;
  • CVS, 2651, Easton Ave., Bethlehem;
  • Walters Pharmacy, 401 N. 17th St., Allentown;
  • Wegmans, 5000 Wegmans Drive, Hanover Twp.;
  • Rite Aid, 2108 MacArthur Road, Whitehall Twp.;
  • Kmart, 1502 S. Fourth St., Allentown;
  • CVS, 1457 Eighth Ave., Bethlehem;
  • Hartzells Pharmacy, 300 American St., Catasauqua;
  • CVS, 1601 W. Liberty St., Allentown;
  • Rite Aid, 104 E. Third St., Bethlehem;
  • Young’s Pharmacy, 3708 Freemansburg Ave., Bethlehem;
  • Rite Aid, 1628 S. Fourth St., Allentown;
  • Kmart, 4701 W. Tilghman St., South Whitehall Twp.;
  • Rite Aid, 1650 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., South Whitehall Twp.;
  • Rite Aid, 27 N. Seventh St., Allentown;
  • Giant, 2641 MacArthur Road, Whitehall Twp.

In all, investigators found 21 phony prescriptions each for 90 30mg tablets of Oxycodone. They were paid for with private insurance or Medicare.

The state attorney general said the pills were worth about $54,000 on the street.

Allentown police arrested Anthony Velez on April 18 for allegedly trying to fill a stolen prescription at the Giant at 3015 W. Emaus Ave. It was for 90 30mg Oxycodone tablets. Velez told police that a friend paid him to fill the prescription and drove him to the grocery store.

He provided a description of the vehicle and authorities identified the driver as Huggins, according to records.

In May, Hartzell’s Pharmacy called police when Jannivette Medina allegedly tried to pass a stolen prescription. She told police that Huggins asked her to do a favor for a friend without insurance and fill a prescription.

Authorities said her sister, Estefanie Melendez, also reported filling prescriptions for Higgins.

Investigators said they interviewed Danielle Dagostino in May at Northampton County Prison. She reported that Huggins provided her with a completed prescription that she filled at the CVS inside the Target in South Whitehall Township.

Police have charged:

  • Jada Conyers of Allentown;
  • Jannivette Medina of Allentown;
  • Estefanie Melendez of Allentown;
  • Zuleica Rosario of Allentown;
  • Kassandra Santiago of Allentown;
  • Anthony Velez of Allentown;
  • Ronica Washington of Allentown;
  • Danielle Dagostino of Allentown;
  • Brenda Palacios of Allentown;
  • Aaliyah Sinclair of Allentown;
  • Yomaria Cruz of Reading, and
  • Matthew Frederick of Allentown.

Defendants are facing a series of charges, including forgery, identity theft, conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance.

Charges are also pending against 26-year-old Huggins. Authorities charged him with 67 counts that include forgery, possession of a controlled substance and identity theft.

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