April 4, 2014

Attorney General Kane announces breakup of prescription drug ring operating in Lehigh Valley

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced that agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation (BNI) have charged nine PA residents who allegedly participated in a prescription drug ring that operated throughout the Lehigh Valley.

 
Carl Brown III

 
Kenneth Ennis

 
Jamarcus Fennell

 
Terrisa Grube

 
Shawn McAvoy

 
Alison Monfre

 
Barbara Monfre

 
Lataryn Smith

 
Mercedes werkheiser

The investigation was initiated after the Attorney General's Office received a complaint from a Northampton County doctor claiming that someone from his office had stolen prescription pads and was using them without authorization.

According to the criminal complaint, Alison Monfre, who worked at the Easton doctor's office, wrote multiple prescriptions for oxycodone and signed the doctor's name without his knowledge. Monfre's boyfriend, Jamarcus Fennell, allegedly sold the forged prescriptions to acquaintances and also occasionally sold pills from filled scripts on the street.  

As the investigation progressed, agents ran the doctor's DEA registration number and received a Schedule II Report for 2013, which revealed that a total of eight prescriptions were written for seven different people. None of the individuals listed in the report were patients of the doctor.

Agents said that throughout the course of the investigation nine prescriptions were filled for 840 oxycodone tablets (15 mg) and 180 oxycodone tablets (30 mg).

Attorney General Kane reiterated her support for legislation to help address the state's opioid prescription drug abuse epidemic. "A law requiring the use of state-issued prescription pads, as well a reporting requirement when those pads are stolen, would assist physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement in preventing forged prescriptions from being filled," Attorney General Kane said.

Attorney General Kane noted Pennsylvania has the 14th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. She said prescription drug and related-heroin abuse reaches across all ages, demographics and geographic areas.

Prescription drug abuse can sometimes be called a "closet" addiction because friends, family and co-workers are often unaware of a person's addiction. However, prescription drug abuse can be just as deadly as heroin or cocaine addiction and the impact on society can be just as harmful.

"In Pennsylvania, there is a direct link between prescription drug abuse and heroin use," Attorney General Kane said. "That is because prescription drug dependency is expensive to maintain, so abusers ultimately turn to heroin as a cheaper, purer, more available alternative."

Attorney General Kane thanked DEA for their assistance with the investigation.

Below is a complete list of the defendants and the charges against them.

--Carl Brown III, 23, 711 Davis St., Easton, Northampton County, is charged with nine counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, nine counts of identity theft, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Kenneth Ennis, 25, 219 W. Nesquehoning St., Easton, Northampton County, is charged with nine counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, nine counts of identity theft, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Jamarcus Fennell, 23, currently incarcerated in the Northampton County Prison, is charged with of nine counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, nine counts of identity theft, five counts of receiving stolen property, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

--Terrisa Grube, 42, last known address 630 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem, Lehigh County, is charged with nine counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, nine counts of identity theft, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Shawn McAvoy, 19, 522 Valley Ave., Easton, Northampton County, is charged with nine counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, nine counts of identity theft, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Alison Monfre, 33, 141 Fell St., Summit Hill, Carbon County, is charged with 13 counts of theft by unlawful taking, nine counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, nine counts of identity theft, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Barbara Monfre, 61, 134 West Fell St., Summit Hill, Carbon County, is charged with nine counts of identity theft, eight counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Lataryn Smith, 21, last known address 335 S. West St., Apt. A, Allentown, Lehigh County, is charged with nine counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, nine counts of identity theft, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of corrupt organizations.

--Mercedes Werkheiser, 21, 137 North 7th St., Apt. 2, Easton, Northampton County, is charged with nine counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, nine counts of identity theft, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of corrupt organizations.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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