An Internet drug ring that ran from coast to coast has been dealt a crushing blow.
Brooklyn County District Attorney Charles Hynes announced today the indictment of six people who allegedly shipped drugs to New York on a monthly basis.
The district attorney said that Haim Avila-Romero, 22, and Mischa Pinchuk, 22, managed to get a hold of prescription drugs, such as Adderall and Vicodin, in California and shipped the pills east via FedEx. The pills would be delivered to a private postal business in Brooklyn owned by Pinchas Goldshtein.
Goldshtein would then deposit money made from the sale in a bank account in Brooklyn, and Avila-Romero and Pinchuk would withdraw it in Los Angeles, prosecutors said. The drug ring allegedly managed to earn $1million in illegal drug sales.
District Attorney Hynes released a statement denouncing the ring saying, “This criminal enterprise does not produce dirty needles or crack pipes or addicts lying wasted in alleys and doorways, but it is nonetheless a very serious threat.”
The indictment is due in large part to the cooperation of the NYPD, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca.
The 26-year-old Goldshtein received the drugs by the thousands, investigators allege. He then distributed the pills to a network of wholesale-level dealers through out New York City, prosecutors said.
Alleged wholesalers included Miguel Medina, 45, Evan Vaughn, 28, and Henry C. Fertik, 23 who dealt directly with customers, that ranged from students to young professionals. A large number of buyers contacted Medina and other dealers through Craigslist, prosecutors said.
Hynes said “Much like professional athletes who once believed steroids could improve their performance and were not harmful to them, these young people are abusing pharmaceuticals not simply to get high, but often to improve their performance at work and at school, and while it may be viewed by them as clean and safe - make no mistake, they are as addicted and often as at risk, as anyone pumping heroin into a vein.”
The defendants are charged with conspiracy and criminal sale of a controlled substance. The district attorney also charged the six defendants with money laundering up to $500,000 in drug money.
If convicted they face up to 25 years in prison.