Leslie F. Tiner of Boca Raton, Florida and eight others, all of Delaware, were arrested Thursday after a federal indictment accused them of attempting to market oxycodone, a news release of the US Attorney’s Office indicates. Among those facing charges are Scott Evan Thomas, 42, Bridgette Anne Thomas, 34, John Cushier Ferenbach, 30, Christopher Allen Ashley, 33, Ronald Dwayne Majewski, 31, Ryan Donald Wolf, 34, Leslie F. Tiner, 62, James Francis Ohanlon, 33, and John Joseph Pharis, 39. Each defendant was booked into police custody on charges of conspiracy to possess oxycodone with intent to distribute. Pharis, however, avoided arrest and police are still looking to bring him in on the charges. It is unclear if any of the defendants qualified for bail bond. It is also unclear whether they have retained private criminal defense attorney.
According to reports, the arrests followed an investigation into a multi-state drug operation based out of Florida and Delaware. While certain details of the two-year investigation have just been released, it is still unclear how the operation functioned. Regardless of the details, a spokesperson from the DEA told the public that “this multi-state investigation shows that Florida is still a major source for diverted pharmaceutical drugs to other states.” The U.S. Attorney for the South District of Florida seemed to agree, saying, “the spread of oxycodone is a serious and deadly problem in our communities, and we stand united across state lines in our resolve to end this epidemic.”
Officials attributed the busts to the collaboration of Delaware and South Florida agents, which worked together to apprehend the suspects. The defendants were set to attend a federal court hearing at 4:00 Thursday evening; it is not clear whether any of them has admitted to participating in the ring. It is important to remember that all of the defendants are innocent until proven otherwise.
In a similar operation earlier this year, a dozen suspects were arrested after federal agents accused them of illegally distributing pain medications, including oxycodone, from their Florida-based medical clinic. That case led to the arrest of Dr. Mark Cukierman, who was apprehended on a number of charges, including racketeering and delivery of a controlled substance.
The arrests followed an operation that detectives dubbed “Operation Pill Nation phase II.” During that operation, investigators discovered that the Pompano Beach Medical Center, where Cukierman worked, used fraudulent identification to file for a DEA number. Once that number was obtained, the clinic was able to set up a wholesale pharmaceutical account, which it allegedly used to purchase over 13,000 oxycodone pills. Sources say clinic then distributed the pills to their patients.
During their operation, investigators used undercover operatives to visit the clinic between 2010 and 2012. Within in that time, undercover detectives were able to procure a number of prescriptions medications, even though medical examinations did not warrant the issuing of such drugs. During that two-year investigation, sources say that the detectives acquired more than 3,000 prescription pills, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone.
Reports indicate that detectives disbanded the operation in 2012. Police arrested 12 suspects, including Cukierman, none of whom are still employed at the clinic.