Army Doctor Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Illegally Distributing Oxycodone

June 14, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Army doctor, Joffre Erwin Robalino, age 43, of Columbia, Maryland, today to a year and a day in prison, followed by a year of home confinement as part of three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone. Judge Bennett also ordered Robalino to pay restitution of $6,171 and to perform 300 hours of community service.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Mid-Atlantic Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Nicholas DiGiulio, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Robalino, a U.S. Army military doctor, not only broke the law by drug trafficking, he betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the public, “stated Carl J. Kotowski, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office. “Professionals, such as doctors or pharmacists, who knowingly abuse their power and the public trust are drug dealers, no different than the street dealers that sell illicit drugs. The abuse of diverted prescription pain medication is the fastest growing drug problem in our country and our DEA Tactical Diversion Squad is ready to tackle this problem,” added Kotowski.

According to statements made at Robalino’s plea and sentencing hearing, and other court documents, from March to June 2011, Robalino conspired with individuals in Baltimore County and Baltimore City to distribute oxycodone. Robalino is a doctor and active duty Army Captain employed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The investigation showed that from March 9, 2011 to May 25, 2011, Robalino wrote 16 prescriptions, for a total of 3,525 oxycodone tablets, in the names of his wife and mother. The prescriptions were filled at 11 different pharmacies and paid for by TriCare, a military health insurance plan.

On May 19, 2011, Robalino wrote and filled a prescription in the name of another individual. A subsequent interview with that person revealed that he did not know, nor was he a patient of Robalino. The individual advised DEA agents that a week earlier, the drug dealer from whom the individual illegally purchases oxycodone had asked for his identifying information.

In addition, DEA developed two sources who dealt drugs with Robalino. One source advised that over the course of a few weeks he purchased 1,500 oxycodone tablets from Robalino for between $10 and $12 per pill. One of these purchases was monitored and recorded by law enforcement. The second source advised that Robalino wrote prescriptions in the source’s name. The source then sold the pills obtained from that prescription and split the proceeds with Robalino.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad, DCIS, and HHS-OIG for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Mushtaq Gunja, who prosecuted the case.

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