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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


FEBRUARY14, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


AREA PHARMACY OWNER, TEXAS PHYSICIAN AMONG THOSE

INDICTED FOR CONSPIRACY TO ILLEGALLY DISTRIBUTE

NEARLY $1 MILLION IN PRESCRIPTION DRUGS


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that the owner of a Belton, Mo., pharmacy, along with a Texas physician and three other defendants have been indicted by a federal grand jury for participating in a conspiracy to illegally distribute nearly $1 million in prescription drugs.


            Mary Lynn Rostie, 57, and Cynthia S. Martin, 49, both of Belton, and Christopher L. Elder, M.D., 36, Troy R. Solomon, 43, and Delmon L. Johnson, 49, all of Houston, Texas, were charged in a 24-count indictment that was returned under seal on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008, by a federal grand jury in Kansas City. That indictment was unsealed and made public today.


            Rostie is a pharmacist and co-owner of Rostie Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a The Medicine Shoppe in Belton. According to the indictment, Rostie unlawfully dispensed large quantities of drugs that were prescribed by Elder, a physician who practiced medicine in Houston.


             All five defendants are charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances from August 2004 through October 2005.


             Today’s indictment alleges that Elder wrote unlawful and invalid prescriptions for thousands of dosage units of drugs. Solomon, co-owner of Ascensia Nutritional Pharmacy, sent those prescriptions by facsimile to Rostie at The Medicine Shoppe. Rostie allegedly filled the unlawful prescriptions and had the controlled substances delivered by FedEx to Elder and Solomon.


             Solomon and Johnson, a manager at Ascensia, distributed the prescription drugs, the indictment says, providing a portion of the proceeds to Martin as payment – both towards her, as the broker who introduced Solomon to Rostie, as well as to pay for additional prescription drugs. Approximately 70 packages, which the indictment says are believed to have contained cash payments, were shipped via United Parcel Service from Johnson’s residence to Martin from Sept. 2, 2004, through Oct. 31, 2005. Martin allegedly made 29 deposits into her personal checking account, totaling approximately $71,666, from Oct. 8, 2004, through Oct. 17, 2005. Martin allegedly paid Rostie thousands of dollars in cash for the prescription drugs.


             According to the indictment, Rostie made gross sales of at least $991,114 from filling the unlawful prescriptions and distributing those controlled substances.


             Among the controlled substances that the indictment alleges were illegally distributed were hydrocodone, a prescription pain killer (in both its generic and brand name forms, such as Lortab and Lorcet), alprazolam, a sedative and anti-anxiety medication (in both its generic and brand name forms, such as Xanax) and promethazine with codeine, used to relieve coughs and upper respiratory symptoms associated with allergy or common cold (in both its generic and brand name forms, such as Phernergan with codeine).


             The indictment cites hundreds of prescriptions that were filled by Rostie. For example, in June 2005, the indictment says, Rostie filled more than 200 prescriptions over a four-day period. Between Sept. 1, 2004, and Oct. 25, 2005, three patients had controlled substance prescriptions issued by Elder and filled by Rostie on multiple dates after they had died.


             From Jan. 1, 2004, to Sept. 30, 2005, the indictment alleges, The Medicine Shoppe purchased a very high amount of hydrocodone products from wholesale distributors. During this time period, The Medicine Shoppe allegedly purchased 3,887 bottles of hydrocodone containing nearly 2 million dosage units. In comparison among the six retail pharmacies located in Belton, during the same 21-month time period, The Medicine Shoppe purchased approximately 12,278 grams of hydrocodone and the second highest purchaser bought approximately 1,532 grams of hydrocodone.


             In addition to the distribution conspiracy, Rostie, Martin, Solomon and Johnson are charged with participating in a money laundering conspiracy from August 2004 through October 2005. The indictment alleges that they conducted financial transactions that involved the proceeds of the conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances, knowing that the transactions were designed to conceal the illegal activity.


             Rostie and Solomon are also charged with 10 counts of illegally distributing a controlled substance. Elder is also charged with eight counts of illegally distributing a controlled substance. Johnson is also charged with four counts of illegally distributing a controlled substance.


             Rostie is also charged with one count of the unlawful use of a communications facility, related to the use of a facsimile to illegally distribute prescription drugs. Rostie is also charged with seven counts of money laundering and Martin is also charged with four counts of money laundering.


             The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government $991,114, which was received in exchange for the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, and the residences of Rostie, Martin and Solomon.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rudolph R. Rhodes, IV. It was investigated by the Missouri Board of Pharmacy and the Drug Enforcement Administration.



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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html