Undercover Purchases Of Prescription Medication Leads To 3 Arrests
FEB 7 -- (Anderson, CA) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor and United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott, announce the arrest of Steven CORREA, 25, Aaron BODENSCHATZ, 29, and Tanya MARLIN, 24, all of Anderson, CA, the service of four (4) federal search warrants and three (3) Administrative Inspection Warrants at local pharmacies related to the investigation. All search and arrest warrants were served without incident.
This investigation began in April 2007, when agents received information that Tanya MARLIN and her boyfriend, Aaron BODENSCHATZ, were illegally distributing hydrocodone tablets in the Anderson, CA area. These pills were provided to MARLIN and BODENSCHATZ by Steven CORREA, employed as a pharmacy technician at Owens Pharmacy in Red Bluff, and a delivery driver at Omnicare in Redding, CA.
DEA Special Agent Gordon Taylor stated, "This is like having a fox guard the hen house. As a pharmacy technician, CORREA violated the public trust by engaging with others to illegally sell prescription drugs on the street." Taylor added, "Illegal use of prescription drugs such as OxyContin, hydrocodone or morphine can have deadly consequences. The DEA and our partners in law enforcement will continue to target those who divert these drugs into the illicit market."
During the course of this 11-month investigation, there were five (5) undercover purchases of hydrocodone, morphine, and/or OxyContin tablets. According to the court documents, either MARLIN or BODENSCHATZ were contacted for the purchase and delivery of the pills. The agreed upon price per tablet of hydrocodone was approximately $3.00, while morphine tablets were approximately $20.00 each and OxyContin was approximately $30.00 per tablet. During the undercover purchases, law enforcement established surveillance on MARLIN and BODENSCHATZ. On more than one occasion either MARLIN or BODENSCHATZ met with CORREA before or during the undercover purchases of OxyContin. Throughout the investigation a total of 2,500 Hydrocodone, 55 Morphine and 318 OxyContin tablets were purchased. Hydrocodone is a Schedule III controlled substance, while morphine and OxyContin are listed as Schedule II controlled drugs.
“Abuse of prescription drugs has reached epidemic levels. Controlled substances such as morphine and OxyContin must only be used when medically necessary. Today's operation underscores law enforcement's commitment to target the illegal trafficking of pharmaceutical drugs,” said US Attorney McGregor W. Scott.
The investigation culminated on February 7, 2008, when four (4) federal search warrants were served at residences related to the investigation. Searches were conducted at the following locations:
· 5487 Balls Ferry Road, Anderson, CA
DEA Sacramento Diversion Group served Administrative Inspection Warrants at the following locations:
· Owens Pharmacy #3 @ 2995 East Street, Anderson, CA
As a result of the search at BODENSHCATZ and MARLIN’s residence law enforcement seized 76 tablets of OxyContin and $650 U.S. Currency utilized in the undercover purchases of prescription medication. Additionally, from CORREA’S residence, agents located and seized $2,500 U.S. Currency utilized in the undercover purchases of prescription medication
MARLIN, BODENSCHATZ and CORREA are all charged with violations of Title 21 United States Code Sections 841(a)(1) – Distribution of OxyContin and 846 – Conspiracy to Distribute OxyContin. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of violation of Title 21 USC Section 841(a)(1) and 846 is punishable by a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, $1,000,000 fine, or both and 3 years of supervised release. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
This investigation was conducted by the DEA offices in Redding and Sacramento, North State Initiative (NSI) California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team (CAL-MET), and Shasta Inter-Agency Task Force. Today’s enforcement operation was also conducted with the assistance the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement (BNE) and the California Highway Patrol.
All defendants are scheduled for their initial appearance in Sacramento Federal Court on Friday, February, 8, 2008. A complaint contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, MARLIN, BODENSCHATZ, and CORREA must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.