Three Nigerians charged with illegally distributing $9.6 million drugs in US
London, June 2, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Three pharmacists of Nigerian origin, a doctor and patient recruiters were charged in a $9.6m Illegal Opioid Distribution Conspiracy.
According to the charge sheet as released by the Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan, an indictment was unsealed on Thursday, May 31, 2018, charging three pharmacists, one doctor and two other individuals with conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription drugs.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.
The announcement reads: “Charged in the indictment are: Pharmacist Enitan Sodiya-Ogundipe, 42, of Novi; Pharmacist Amir Rafi, 49, of Farmington Hills; Pharmacist Abiodun Fabode, 56, of Chesterfield Township; Dr. Vasan Deshikachar, 50, of Boca Raton, Florida, Niesheia Tibu, 44, of Canton; and Andrei Tibu, 30, of Canton.”
The indictment alleges that from January 2015 through March 2018, these pharmacists and doctor conspired with the other defendants to issue and dispense a large number of prescription opioids for supposed patients, who did not have a legitimate medical need for the drugs.
“Deshikachar primarily prescribed oxycodone and oxymorphone, two of the most addictive opioids that have high street value.
“The Tibus would take the supposed patients to Precare Pharmacy, Global Health Pharmacy and Friendz Pharmacy, where Sodiya-Ogundipe, Rafi and Fabode would dispense the drugs. The Tibus then obtained the drugs and sold them on the street,” the indictment says.
“It’s incredible but true that we have seen that some of our trusted doctors, pharmacists, and medical professionals have chosen to violate their oaths and exploit our unprecedented drug crisis for profit,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
In this case, three pharmacists and one doctor allegedly conspired to distribute nearly $10m worth of opioids into the community, potentially spreading addiction and causing untold damage to Michigan families, Sessions added; while expressing appreciation to the FBI, DEA, prosecutors and many others for their hard work on this case.
“As this indictment makes clear, we are determined to reduce opioid fraud and to ultimately end the drug epidemic,”he said.
Sodiya-Ogundipe was also charged with money laundering for engaging in monetary transactions with the proceeds from her illicit pharmacy business.
The charge sheet however noted that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. “Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” it states.