News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 4, 2009
Contact: Matthew Taylor
Public Information Officer
915-832-6000

Thirteen in Permian Basin Indicted in Connection with Prescription Fraud and Illicit Sales Investigation

AUG 04 -- John E. Murphy, Acting United States Attorney, announced that federal and state authorities have arrested 13 individuals following a multi-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration into prescription fraud and illicit sales of prescription drugs in the Permian Basin.

All 13 were indicted by a federal grand jury seated in Midland on July 22, 2009. The defendants and their charges are:

Lindsey Renee Sammons, 27, of Midland—17 counts of acquisition of hydrocodone by fraud; Lawana Lorene Burrow, 43, of Midland—2 counts of distribution of methadone; Walter Ray Burrow, 41, of Midland—1 count of distribution of methadone; Norma Jean Spencer, 51, of Midland—2 counts of distribution of hydrocodone; Emily Rene Bynum, 22, of Grand Saline, TX—5 counts of acquisition of hydrocodone, diazepam, and clonazepam by fraud; Lourdes “ Lou” Sanchez, 34, of Midland—3 counts of distribution of hydrocodone and 7 counts of acquisition of hydrocodone by fraud; Melissa Brook Hernandez. 25, of Midland—2 counts of distribution of hydrocodone; Roy Arnett Claudrick, 53, of Midland—2 counts of distribution of hydrocodone; David Wayne Harris, 58, of Midland—2 counts of distribution of hydrocodone; Gilberto Lujan Martinez, 49, of San Angelo—1 count of distribution of hydrocodone; Clara Martinez, 75, of Midland—1 count of distribution of hydrocodone; Michelle Herman, 34, of Odessa—conspiracy to distribute hydrocodone, and acquisition of hydrocodone by fraud; and, Teena Johnson, 40, of Odessa—conspiracy to distribute hydrocodone..

According to authorities, the defendants have each been accused, on various dates during the previous 12 months, of either illegally selling prescription drugs to undercover officers/cooperating witnesses, or acquiring prescription drugs using forged prescriptions, or both.

Distribution of methadone is punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million. Distribution of hydrocodone, and conspiracy to do the same, is punishable by a prison term of up to 5 years and a $250,000 fine. Each instance of acquisition of a prescription drug by fraud is punishable by a prison term of up to 4 years and a $250,000 fine. All defendants are presently set for jury trial in October 2009.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

DEA El Paso Division SAC Joseph M. Arabit 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.