ALLENTOWN — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against 13 individuals affiliated with a prescription drug ring that illegally wrote prescriptions for Oxycodone and then sold them in the Lehigh Valley.
Led by William Huggins, 26, of Allentown, the group illegally wrote and filled prescriptions for Oxycodone with a street value of $54,000.
Using a prescription pad stolen from St. Luke’s Orthopedic Specialists, of Fountain Hill, Huggins wrote the fraudulent prescriptions and the other 12 defendants filled the illegal prescriptions for sale. Authorities said none of the 13 individuals involved in the drug ring are patients of the practice.
“These criminals fraudulently obtained dangerous pills and sold them on Lehigh Valley streets,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Our agents used data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to investigate this case and file these charges. Seventy percent of heroin users started out by using prescription drugs. That’s why our office has increased the number of arrests we’ve made since 2016 for people who illegally divert prescription drugs from legitimate use to illegal sales that fuel addiction.”
“We need additional resources to fight these criminals who are helping drive the opioid epidemic,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “That’s why I’ve asked the General Assembly for the resources to fund 16 additional agents and 3 prosecutors to help us target more illegal diversion cases like this one.”
This investigation began in early April after the Office of Attorney General was alerted to a stolen prescription pad by the Fountain Hill Police Department. A report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) revealed suspicious prescriptions being filled by numerous individuals under doctors listed at that practice.
The following defendants, eight of whom are currently in custody, are charged with conspiracy to acquire a controlled substance by fraud and related charges:
“We are fighting this epidemic on every front to go after the criminals who illegally divert and sell prescription drugs,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “We’re targeting anyone on street corners, doctors’ offices and even corporate board rooms who participate in fueling this epidemic for their own profit.”
All defendants will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Christie Bonesch of the Office of Attorney General.
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