News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 03, 2010
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

Ringleader of Oxycontin Drug-Dealing Crew Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 135 Months in Prison

FEB 03 -- JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA"), PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOSE MARTE was sentenced today to 135 months in prison by United States District Judge DENNY CHIN for his involvement in a conspiracy to distribute OxyContin in New York City. MARTE pleaded guilty to narcotics conspiracy charges in September 2009.

DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride stated, “Illegal prescription drug trafficking and the health care fraud it generates is not only dangerous, but is also costing taxpayers millions of dollars.  ‘Doctor Shoppers’ who obtain prescriptions under false pretenses - fill these prescriptions at pharmacies for minimal or no cost and then sell the drugs for a profit - are a burden on a health care system our families and communities rely upon.”  SAC Gilbride commended both the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad and the United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York for their diligence in this investigation. 

According to the Indictment to which MARTE pleaded guilty, other documents in this case, and statements made in Manhattan federal court:

From May 2008 through November 2008, MARTE was the ringleader of a group of individuals who acquired and distributed thousands of 80-milligram tablets of OxyContin, 40-milligram tablets of Oxycontin, and Percocet. These drugs are Schedule II narcotics prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, and are sold on the street as a substitute for illegal narcotics, including heroin. MARTE recruited individuals who obtained the Oxycontin and Percocet through the Medicaid program, at a cost of over $900 for every 90-pill prescription. MARTE then resold the pills for profit to other drug dealers for further distribution in the Bronx and Connecticut.

MARTE's 13 co-conspirators have all pleaded guilty to narcotics charges and/or health care charges for defrauding Medicaid. Additionally, three of five co-conspirators, who were charged in separate cases, have also pleaded guilty. JOSE MARTE, 46, of the Bronx, New York, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the DEA and thanked the New York City Human Resources Administration, Bureau of Fraud Investigation, Prescription Drug Fraud Unit, for their assistance in the case.

Assistant United States Attorneys ANTONIA M. APPS and NATALIE LAMARQUE are in charge of the prosecution.