NOV 20 (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) - Rools Deslouches, a Brentwood, New York, nurse practitioner, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to illegally distributing the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone to customers, whom the defendant knew were drug dealers and addicts, without performing any meaningful medical examination. When sentenced, Deslouches faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Deslouches also agreed to forfeit more than $150,000 in illegal proceeds from his criminal activity.
Defendant Owusu sold oxycodone prescriptions
written in the names of individuals never examined
In a separate case, Stephen Owusu, a Brooklyn, New York, podiatrist, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to the illegal distribution of oxycodone to individuals who were not his patients in exchange for cash. When sentenced, Owusu faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Owusu also agreed to surrender his DEA registration number, which had permitted him to issue controlled substance prescriptions.
The guilty pleas were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division.
“Medical professionals who traffic narcotics are significantly responsible for the pain pill and heroin addiction we see in NY. These traffickers are one of our top priorities,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Crowell. “Lines of individuals filled the waiting room outside of Deslouches’ office in order to pay between $200 to $400 per visit and leave with a prescription; while Owusu sold over 450 prescriptions for oxycodone charging $300 per prescription. Neither Deslouches nor Owusu practiced medicine, but they did practice in drug dealing. Law enforcement continues to focus our resources on those who divert prescription medication for abuse and profit.” SAC Crowell commends the US Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York, DEA Long Island District Office (LIDO), and LIDO Tactical Diversion Squad, which includes agents and officers from the DEA, Nassau County Police Department, New York State Police, Rockville Centre PD, and Port Washington PD.
“Instead of providing needed medical services to their communities, Deslouches and Owusu fueled the prescription drug crisis that has swept across our district and our nation. On the defendants’ watch, drug dealers and drug addicts found easy access to oxycodone pills,” stated Ms. Lynch. “Today’s convictions should serve as a warning to those who would violate their oath as medical professionals to do no harm: if you illegally distribute prescription drugs, you will be held accountable.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the DEA, Suffolk County Police Department, and the New York State Police for their assistance in this case.
According to court filings, the investigation revealed that Deslouches ran a cash-only business, where his customers paid him between $200 and $400 for oxycodone prescriptions. Further, the investigation determined that between October 2011 and February 2012, Deslouches issued 4,349 oxycodone prescriptions for a total of 422,107 pills to over 288 individuals. Approximately one-third of those individuals had criminal records for narcotics-related offenses.
According to court filings, the investigation revealed that between March 2009 and July 2011, Owusu sold over 450 prescriptions for oxycodone to individuals who were not his patients, for $300 a prescription. Those pills were then later sold to narcotics users in street level narcotics transactions.
Deslouches and Owusu’s convictions resulted from the Eastern District of New York’s Prescription Drug Initiative (Initiative), which is a joint effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the DEA, and the five District Attorneys in Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk Counties, working in conjunction with the New York City Police Department and the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, New York/New Jersey HIDTA, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Medicaid Inspector General. The Initiative is a broad and comprehensive approach to the epidemic of prescription drug trafficking and abuse, involving not only criminal investigation and prosecution at the federal, state, and local level, but also the targeted use of civil law enforcement, regulatory action, and community outreach. The Initiative has expanded information-sharing among federal and state enforcement agencies to better identify and target suspected traffickers, and ensure greater use of criminal, civil, forfeiture, injunctive, and other tools. Since the inception of the Initiative, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York has prosecuted approximately 68 defendants on charges relating to the distribution of oxycodone and other prescription drugs. Among the defendants prosecuted, are 12 health care professionals, including medical doctors, pharmacists, a nurse practitioner, and a podiatrist, and seven of these defendants have pled guilty or been convicted after trial and the others are pending trial.
Deslouches’s plea was entered before United States District Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein, and Owusu’s plea was entered before United States Magistrate Judge William D. Wall, at the United States Courthouse in Central Islip, New York.
Deslouches’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael P. Canty, and Owusu’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz.
Brentwood, New York
Valley Stream, New York