Three Nigerians nationals who operate pharmaceutical stores in Texas, United States have been indicted for allegedly dispensing millions of the opioid pills hydrocodone, carisoprodol, and oxycodone.
The Nigerians involved, if convicted, risk sentencing up to 20 years in prison.
WebMD described opioid as a type of narcotic pain medication that binds to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. They are used to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications.
However, this range of drugs has been widely abused by drug addicts over the years.
According to court documents, from January 2018, pharmaceutical stores owned by the Nigerians: Keystone Pharmacy by Anthony Obute, and Peoples Pharmacy by Ophelia Emeakaroha have been illegally dispensing opioid pills, Nigeriabroad reports.
Another Nigerian Christopher Obaze who operated one Chrisco Pharmacy has been earlier arrested for alleged illicit operation of Chrisco as a pill mill.
Meanwhile, Obute was arrested on Thursday, December 2 following a filed criminal complaint which alleged that he operated Keystone as a pill mill, illegally distributing hydrocodone and oxycodone.
The complaint further alleges that from September 2018 to September 2020, Obute directed Keystone to purchase around 1.1 million of the highest-strength, short-acting hydrocodone and oxycodone pills commercially available.
It was further alleged that he sold them to so-called “crew leaders,” or drug traffickers who pay individuals to pose as patients in order to obtain pills to sell onto the black market.
Ophelia Emeakoroha was arrested on the same day on a criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, alleging that she, the pharmacist-in-charge at Peoples, illegally distributed and dispensed hydrocodone and oxycodone.
According to court documents, from January 1, 2019, to about December 31, 2019, Emeakoroha caused Peoples to purchase around 250,000 of the highest-strength, short-acting hydrocodone and oxycodone pills commercially available, which she then sold to crew leaders in a scheme similar to Keystone’s.
Obaze, who is facing an 8-count indictment, is alleged to have illegally distributed and dispensed hydrocodone and oxycodone, maintained Chrisco as a drug-involved premises in proximity to a facility for children, and laundered the ill-gotten gains, using the proceeds to promote the enterprise, depositing cash in amounts below $10,000 to avoid bank reporting requirements, and transferring the proceeds through numerous accounts to obscure the funds’ origins. He was also charged with tax crimes.
According to court documents, from January 2018, to October 2021, Obaze was the pharmacist-in-charge at Chrisco, used as a front to purchase and then illegally sell around 2.25 million of the highest-strength short-acting hydrocodone and oxycodone pills commercially available.
The indictment alleges that Obaze and one staffer at Chrisco sold the pills, in bulk, directly to drug traffickers, without the involvement of doctors, prescriptions, or patients.