Fresno, California - A Madera pharmacist and two others were arrested Tuesday in connection with a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
On April 11, a federal grand jury returned a 42-count indictment, charging Ifeanyi Vincent Ntukogu, 44, of Fresno, a pharmacist, with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and 17 counts of distribution of controlled substances. Kelo White, 38, of Fresno, was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and 12 counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Donald Ray Pierre, 50, of Fresno, was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, 10 counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and two counts of identity theft.
According to court documents, Ntukogu owned and operated New Life Pharmacy in Madera. Between December 2014 and November 2018, Ntukogu filled fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone, Schedule II controlled substances, then dispensed the controlled substances to White and Pierre.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the California Department of Health Care Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie L. Alsworth is prosecuting the case.
Ntukogu was arrested at the New Life Pharmacy in Madera and White and Pierre were arrested at their homes in Fresno.
If convicted, Ntukogu, White and Pierre each face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine in connection with the drug charges. Additionally, Pierre faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine in connection with the identity theft charges. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.