MALONE — Three dozen people, half of whom received public assistance, were arrested Tuesday for selling or buying prescription drugs paid for by Franklin County taxpayers.

District Attorney Derek Champagne said five to seven of them were making a living selling prescription drugs they had allegedly obtained by either:

Exaggerating symptoms at a doctor’s office.

Faking injuries in automobile accidents.

Coaching each other before doctor visits to ensure they got more-potent prescriptions.

Lying about a lost prescription so they could have a duplicate made to fill at a different pharmacy.

The drugs include oxycontin and hydrocodone, both powerful pain relievers that are called synthetic cocaine because they affect the body in the same way and are as addictive.

Methadone and marijuana were also identified in the drug arrests.



BIG PROFIT

One of those arrested had a prescription for 120 oxycontin pills filled Monday at a Saranac Lake pharmacy but had only 46 left when he was arrested less than 24 hours later.

The pills are sold for about $1 per milligram, so one 40-milligram pill would go for $30 to $40 and an 80-milligram pill for $60 to $80.

Considering that the county-funded Medicaid program paid for many of the prescriptions instead of the dealers’ pockets, they were making $1,200 in clear profit for one prescription, Champagne said.

Officers from local, state, county and federal agencies arrested people all morning in the Village and Town of Malone, North Bangor, Owls Head, Fort Covington, Moira, Akwesasne and Constable.



PREVIOUS CHARGES

Two of those charged were part of the April 24 raid that brought down a family-run marijuana-smuggling network that had allegedly transported $4 million worth of pot from Canada to the Albany area in a 16-month period.

Ann M. Fournier, 21, of Moira was charged Tuesday with first-degree attempted criminal sale of marijuana, arraigned in Malone Town Court and taken to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Her boyfriend, Matthew C. LaBrake, 21, of Malone, was charged with third-degree criminal sale of marijuana. He was arraigned in Malone Village Court and taken to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.



PREVENTING ABUSE

Champagne said this was a sophisticated operation, which he had no idea was so far reaching when the investigation began 10 months ago.

He said prescription drugs have become the second-most-abused drug in the United States after marijuana.

Champagne said he will work closely with doctors and pharmacists locally to develop a way to track and share information about who is obtaining prescription medicine to be sure what they are getting is the exact amount they are prescribed.

This, he said, would help close the gap the accused dealers are exploiting when they fill fraudulent prescriptions at several pharmacies in adjacent counties.

Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) weighed in, saying more needs to be done on the state level, as well, to combat the growing crime, which costs New Yorkers billions of dollars.

“That’s money coming out of the pockets of property-tax payers and funding that cannot be spent to help those truly in need,” she said in a statement.



RECORD REVIEW

There is no way yet to tell how much Franklin County taxpayers were bilked out of in Medicaid payments, Champagne said, because there are so many doctor records to review.

“The potential fraud of these false symptoms, unnecessary tests, unnecessary procedures, unnecessary appointments and unnecessary medication is staggering and will likely never be fully determined,” the DA said.

He said a meeting is planned next week with the State Office of Medicaid Inspector General to find ways to prevent this kind of fraud.

He will also meet with federal Drug Enforcement Administration to speed up the process of being able to review the medical records of those arrested since federal agents have the authority to access them.

Champagne said about two-thirds of those arrested are addicts who could not help themselves and that many may be eligible for drug court rather than serving a stint in state prison.



Here is a list of the people arrested Tuesday and the charges they face:

Russell A. Bashaw, 47, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Malone Town Court and released under the supervision of the County Probation Department.

Bobby G. Beach, 42, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Manuel W. Caban, 23, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Malone Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Charles I Coe, 42, of Malone: two counts of fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and released under the supervision of the County Probation Department.

Toni M. Coe, 40, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and released under the supervision of the County Probation Department.

Joseph A. Lamica, 22, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Ann M. Cook, 43, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Tammy L. Cook, 34, of Malone: two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of first-degree promotion of prison contraband. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Roy Ennet, 56, of Malone: fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Village Court and released under the supervision of the County Probation Department.

Sheila Ennet, 50, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and released under the supervision of the County Probation Department.

Shari L. Esser, 31, of Owls Head: third-degree criminal sale of marijuana and fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Corey R. Fleury, 28, of North Bangor: fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana, second-degree criminal possession of marijuana and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Ann M. Fournier, 21, of Moira: third-degree criminal sale of marijuana and first-degree attempted criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Derek R. Gadway, 26, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and released under the supervision of the County Probation Department.

Lisa A. Gordon, 37, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Kristie A. Holmes, 36, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Zachary T. Hutchins, 17, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Vernon H. Jock, 49, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Joanne M. King, 52, of Hogansburg: two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

James F. LaBrake, 43, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Matthew C. LaBrake, 21, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Rupert L. Lamica, 46, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Joseph A. Lamica, 22, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Alden Lavoie, 22, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

James H. Lord, 18, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Village Court and released under the supervision of the County Probation Department.

Edith G. McDonald, 42, of Malone: fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Jackson Mulverhill, 48, of Malone: two counts of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Stacey L. Ormsby, 33, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Ronald 0. Slayton, 57, of Constable: three counts of fourth-degree and three counts of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Malone Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Christopher J. Stowe, 32, of Constable: third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Malone Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Brandon Thompson, 20, of Akwesasne: first-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Malone Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Christopher White, 23, of Malone: two counts of third-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Joshua L. Wolz, 24, of Malone: two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Tessa J. Wood, 25, of Malone: third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Arraigned in Village Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Marianne Frazer, 27, of Fort Covington: violation of a conditional release. She is being held in County Jail without bail.

Jean Boyea, 33, of Fort Covington: fourth-degree conspiracy. Arraigned in Malone Town Court and sent to County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.





E-mail Denise A. Raymo at:

draymo@pressrepublican.com

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