A Castor Gardens pharmacy was one of the main suppliers for a prescription drug dealer who illegally sold more than 380,000 oxycodone pills in Philadelphia and surrounding communities, federal authorities said last week.
Northeast Pharmacy, at 6730 Bustleton Ave., was not implicated in the scheme, but it was one of three primary pharmacies where Leon Little, 33, of Cherry Hill, and dozens of accomplices acquired meds with bogus prescriptions.
On Oct. 29, the U.S. Attorney’s Office released a 35-count indictment against Little, along with Colise Harmon, 34, of Philadelphia, and Heather Hertzstein, 28, of Folcroft.
According to the charging document, between August 2010 and August 2012, Little and his accomplices recruited and paid dozens of people to pose as patients of a specific Philadelphia doctor in order to obtain prescriptions from him. As the ringleader, Little allegedly did most of the patient recruiting at the Raymond Rosen Projects public housing complex in North Philly.
Hertzstein, as the receptionist in the doctor’s office, was in on the scheme and handled the scheduling of doctor visits for the “pseudo-patients,” authorities said. She also used the doctor’s prescription pad to forge prescriptions and was in contact with pharmacies to verify that the bogus prescriptions were legitimate.
Authorities did not identify the physician by name or address. The physician has not been accused of wrongdoing.
Harmon allegedly drove bogus patients to various pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. The other commonly used pharmacies included Pharmacy of America at 1500 E. Erie Ave. and Philly Pharmacy at 210 Market St.
Little allegedly paid both women with proceeds from the operation. Authorities estimate that the operation raked in more than $3 million through illicit drug sales.
In a separate indictment, the U.S. Attorney charged Aminah Shabazz, 36, of Cherry Hill, with two counts of money laundering and one count of aiding and abetting. Little allegedly gave about $27,000 in drug proceeds to Shabazz, who allegedly used a third party to deposit the cash into a bank account and obtain a certified check in the same amount. Shabazz then deposited the check into the account of a company controlled by him and Little, authorities said.
Little, Hertzstein and Harmon would face life in prison if convicted. Shabazz would face 33 to 41 months in prison. ••