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Leader of Northwest Georgia Oxycodone Distribution Ring Sentenced to Federal Prison
Alvarez Admitted Distributing 72,000 Oxycodone Pills

ROME, GA. - John Gregory Alvarez, 45, of Rossville, Georgia, was sentenced to prison today by United States District Judge Harold L. Murphy, following Alvarez’ conviction on federal narcotics and money laundering charges for his leadership role in a drug trafficking organization that distributed the prescription pill, Oxycodone.

John S. Comer, Acting DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Atlanta Field Division (AFD) said of the sentencing, “These pills are highly addictive and detrimental to the human body when abused. People who traffic these pills are drug dealers in every sense of the term, and should be dealt with as other drug dealers. DEA will continue to investigate and pursue such serious prescription pill cases.”

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “The abuse of prescription pills, especially Oxycodone, has risen to epidemic proportions in recent years. In Georgia, the fatal overdose rates of Oxycodone now exceed those of cocaine and heroin, combined. This tragedy is more pronounced in the Northwest Georgia area, where we have seen a significant percentage of those Oxycodone overdose deaths. As prescription drug abuse continues to plague the communities in this district, the prosecutors in this office will not turn a blind eye to the illegal distribution of Oxycodone and other pills.”

Alvarez was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison to be followed by 6 years of supervised release. Alvarez pleaded guilty to the charges on August 5, 2011.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: This case stems from a joint investigation by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, officers of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, and deputies of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office to dismantle a large scale drug trafficking organization whose objective was the illicit distribution of the prescription pill Oxycodone. The investigation revealed that Alvarez was the leader of a 13-member conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone and launder the proceeds of the illicit sales of the pills. The organization obtained the vast majority of its pills from Florida. Specifically, Alvarez would either fund trips for members of the organization to see doctors in Florida, or go see the doctors himself.

Following the consultations with these doctors, members of the organization would fill prescriptions for Oxycodone, and then transport the pills back to the Northwest Georgia area. There, the pills would be sold to other members of the conspiracy who would then distribute them on the street. The reach of this organization exceeded the Northwest Georgia area, as the conspiracy led to the distribution of pills in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Alvarez, along with other members of the organization, would reinvest the proceeds from the sales of the pills into the conspiracy to fund future trips to procure additional pills for distribution. Investigators determined that the conspiracy Alvarez led was responsible for trafficking many thousands of Oxycodone pills.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, officers of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, and deputies of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Special Assistant United States Attorney C. Brock Brockington and Assistant United States Attorney G. Scott Hulsey prosecuted the case.

John S. Comer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

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