Pharmacist Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering Charges
Tampa, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Christopher Switlyk (32, Tampa) today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally distribute and dispense controlled substances, primarily Oxycodone, and two counts of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. Switlyk faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on the drug conspiracy charge and 10 years in federal prison on each of the money laundering counts. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, co-defendants Luis Fernandez, Jr., Luis Fernandez, III, Marco Beltran, and Kimberly Curtis owned and operated the Tampa Bay Wellness Centre, at 2137 West Martin Luther King Boulevard and the Superior Injury Center, at 1779 West Hillsborough Avenue (previously located at 1943 West Martin Luther King Boulevard). Christopher Switlyk, a licensed pharmacist in the state of Florida, owned and operated the TNC Pharmacy, doing business as VIP Pharmacy, at 1947 West Martin Luther King Boulevard (previously located at 7802 West Waters Avenue). Beltran was a pharmacy technician at the VIP Pharmacy and Curtis was an employee.
While operating these businesses, the conspirators unlawfully distributed and dispensed controlled substances, primarily Oxycodone, under a variety of brand names, including Roxicodone, Roxicet, Oxycontin, Percocet, and Endocet, and in a variety of ways, including 1) using prescriptions issued by physicians not for a legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice; 2) using blank prescription forms upon which unauthorized persons filled in the controlled substance and the dosage to be prescribed, or the DEA number of a physician without his or her knowledge or participation, and/or forging the signature of the physician; 3) providing false documentation of injuries or opiate prescription profiles in order to support the issuance of the fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances; 4) allowing the dispensing of Oxycodone at the pharmacy by persons not authorized to fill prescriptions for controlled substances and without the presence and supervision of a pharmacist; and 5) unlawfully distributing Oxycodone without any prescriptions whatsoever.
Fernandez, Jr., Fernandez III, and Curtis pleaded guilty in October 2011. Beltran entered a guilty plea in November 2011. No sentencing dates have been set.
Additionally, Switlyk and Beltran engaged in monetary transactions using the criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000.00, payable to Infinity Abstract and Title for the purchase of a residence on Swann Avenue, in Tampa; and payable to the Cyber Car Store, in Tampa, for the purchase of a 2007 Lincoln MKX sports utility vehicle.
In the plea agreement, Switlyk agreed to the entry of a money judgment of $10,700,592.00, representing the proceeds the co-conspirators obtained from the illegal drug conspiracy, and to forfeit to the United States a number of assets he accumulated from his illegal activities, including over $6.2 million in cash, the Lincoln MKX SUV, and his residence located in South Tampa.
This case was investigated by a joint task force including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Tampa Police Department, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, and the Lakeland Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathy J.M. Peluso and Josephine Thomas.