A Bronx man has been charged with more than 30 counts for allegedly being the ringleader in an OxyContin trafficking ring that stretched from Richmond Hill to Orange County, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last week.
John Bland, 49, of the Bronx faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on 32 counts including operating as a major trafficker; 16 counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree; nine counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree; six counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree and conspiracy in the second degree.
Five others: Carl Canty, 49; Paul Perez, 42; Mario Aragona, 49; Michelle Kaplan, 42; and Kimberly Augustus, 31 — all of the Bronx — were arrested and each charged with four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree; twocounts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree.
According to the charges, the five accomplices each allegedly used forged prescriptions from Bland to purchase OxyContin from drug stores across the state that Bland later allegedly sold illegally. Among the businesses that were targeted by Bland was Dale Pharmacy and Surgical on Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill, where he allegedly had Perez acquire OxyContin via a false prescription on March 22, 2011.
Schneiderman said a law passed by the New York Legislature unanimously last summer — the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or I-STOP — could have prevented Bland from using fraudulent prescriptions to acquire the drugs.
The law requires doctors to review a patient’s prescription drug history and update it through a real-time database when writing prescriptions for certain controlled substances, and eliminates most paper prescriptions by August, 2014.