Operation Pill Crusher Nets 10 Arrests
JUN 1 -- (SYRACUSE, NY) John P. Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby announced the arrests of ten individuals charged with crimes related to purchasing in excess of the 9 gram monthly limit of medications containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine (Scheduled Listed Chemical Products) as specified by the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA) of 2005.
DEA Special Agent in Charge, John P. Gilbride stated, “Methamphetamine production and abuse simply put – is toxic. The DEA enforces the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act in order to identify individuals who are purchasing over the monthly limit of scheduled listed chemical products that can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Today’s arrests demonstrate the DEA’s commitment to enforcing the CMEA and avoiding the lethal dangers of methamphetamine production and abuse.”
The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA) of 2005 was signed into law on March 9, 2006 to regulate, among other things, retail over-the-counter sales of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine products which are common ingredients found in cough, cold, and allergy products. Retail provisions of the CMEA include daily sales limits and 30-day purchase limits, placement of product out of direct customer access, sales logbooks, customer ID verification, employee training and self-certification of regulated sellers. The CMEA was passed because those drugs are precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine or amphetamine.
In order to purchase products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine an individual must show identification and sign a log book at pharmacies. The Drug Enforcement Administration with state and local law enforcement are responsible for monitoring these log books in order to identify if any one person is purchasing more than 9 grams within a month’s time.
This investigation revealed that during the 30 day period between and including March 1, 2007 and March 30, 2007 the defendants purchased at retail pharmacies located in the Northern District of New York more than 9 grams of pseudoephedrine base, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 844 (a). With the assistance of several retail locations, DEA Special Agents reviewed log books in order to identify the quantity of pseudoephedrine base being purchased by each defendant.
United States Attorney Suddaby emphasized that addressing the problem of drug trafficking continues to be one of the top priorities of the Department of Justice. “Our efforts to reduce the demand for, and supply of, methamphetamine has special priority. The enactment of retail controls on the sale and purchase of key methamphetamine precursors such as psuedoephedrine and ephedrine should reduce the amount of products readily available that could be used to manufacture methamphetamine. The illicit manufacture of methamphetamine has been the subject of wide-scale national attention in recent years and has been particularly prominent in the Southern Tier area of New York State.” Suddaby complimented the compliance, cooperation and assistance of pharmacies and other retailers in complying with federal and state regulations and their assistance in the investigation.
Those persons charged by federal complaints with offenses related to the purchase of more than nine grams of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine within a 30 day period are the following:
Nicole L. BRENNAN, age 22, DOB: 03-06-85,
The investigation dubbed “Operation Pill Crusher” was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, Tioga County Sheriffs Office, Chenango County Sheriffs Office, Vestal Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Bradford County Sheriffs Office, Pennsylvania State Police, the Village of Waverly Police Department, the Athens Township Police Department, the Bradford County Department of Probation, the Tioga County Department of Probation, US Postal Inspection Service and the New York National Guard. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Walsh, who can be reached at 607-773-2887.