Conspiracy to Distribute and Possession with Intent to Distribute Oxycodone
A task force of local, state and federal law enforcement officers investigated an Oxycodone ring for obtaining the pills under false pretenses, prescriptions from various pharmacies using fraudulent or counterfeit prescriptions, and thereafter, trafficking or reselling them on the streets. The overall investigation led to the capture, arrest and prosecution of nine individuals that formed the ring. The persons arrested included the ringleader and a number of his underlings. One of these underlings was a young female. The ringleader lured the female into his scheme with the promise of money. He prayed on her low intelligence, financial struggles and challenges to support multiple children as a single mother. She was unemployed and her husband was incarcerated for drug trafficking so she had no support. The ringleader enticed the woman with cash payments of $200.00 for each counterfeit prescription she filled with Oxycodone. He provided her with counterfeit or false Oxycodone prescriptions and directed her to the pharmacies where to fill them.
During the course of the investigation, local authorities arrested the female in a nearby town for committing this very misconduct. This conduct and resulting arrest were outside of scope of the ongoing investigation. The woman was charged in state court, pleaded guilty and received a short jail sentence. Upon her release, federal authorities approached her with an invitation to cooperate in their investigation. The woman reluctantly agreed. She wore a wire on a few occasions and filled a number of counterfeit Oxycodone prescriptions under law enforcement surveillance and supervision after first alerting them to the ring’s planned actions. The woman was arrested a second time in a nearby town, again outside the scope of the investigation. She was again charged with similar misconduct, pleaded guilty, and received another short jail sentence. Federal agents visited her in prison, scolded the woman for her actions, and instructed her to report to them immediately upon being released. After her release, the woman did not contact or report the federal authorities as instructed. Instead, she fled the area and jurisdiction. She remained on the run for several months. During this time, she gave birth to a new child. Within weeks after the birth, federal authorities tracked the woman down and arrested her on a warrant for charges arising from her involvement in the Oxycodone trafficking ring. The evidence revealed that over the course of the entire investigation, the woman directly filled 65 fraudulent or counterfeit prescriptions totaling 4860 Oxycodone pills. These pills, among countless otherwise obtained by the ring, were then distributed in the local community.
Attorney John L. Calcagni III represented the woman in connection with these charges. Due to her evading law enforcement, apparent status as a flight risk and seriousness of the pending charges, the woman was held without bail at the time of arraignment. The woman had an extensive criminal record at the time of her arrest. The new federal drug charges carried a maximum potential jail sentence of twenty (20) years. Attorney Calcagni hastily negotiated a pretrial agreement for his client. It called for her guilty plea to the charges offense. In exchange, she received sentencing limitations imposed on the government. For instance, the agreement also capped the drug quantity to be attributed to the woman for purposes of sentencing guidelines calculations – 4860 pills that she was personally responsible for, not the many thousands more fraudulently obtained and sold by her eight (8) Co-Defendants. The government also committed to recommending a jail term of 24 months, which was substantially below the applicable federal sentencing guidelines range of 57-71 months. On Attorney Calcagni’s advice, the woman did not fight pretrial detention. She also pleaded guilty very quickly. While in pretrial custody, she enrolled in a number of programs and sought counseling. She also did her best to maintain contact with her family and children. At sentencing, Attorney Calcagni argued to the Court based upon all of these overall facts, the most reasonable sentence warranted for the woman was that of time served, or approximately six (6) months. The Court agreed with Attorney Calcagni and adopted his sentencing recommendation.