OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
JUNE 30, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JURY CONVICTS TEXAS PHYSICIAN, BUSINESSMAN
OF CONSPIRACY TO ILLEGALLY DISTRIBUTE
NEARLY $1 MILLION IN PRESCRIPTION DRUGS DISTRIBUTED
VIA BELTON PHARMACY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two Texas men – a physician and a business owner – were convicted by a federal jury today of participating in a conspiracy that used a Belton, Mo., pharmacy to illegally distribute nearly $1 million in prescription drugs, including more than 2 million dosage units of hydrocodone.
Christopher L. Elder, M.D., 38, and Troy R. Solomon, 47, both of Houston, Texas, were found guilty of all the charges contained in a Feb. 6, 2008, federal indictment.
Elder and Solomon were each found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances from August 2004 through October 2005. In addition to the conspiracy, Elder was also found guilty of eight counts of distributing controlled substances and Solomon was also found guilty of 10 counts of distributing controlled substances and one count of participating in a money-laundering conspiracy.
Co-defendants Mary Lynn Rostie, 59, and Cynthia S. Martin, 51, both of Belton, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and to participating in the money-laundering conspiracy.
Rostie, who was a pharmacist and co-owner of The Medicine Shoppe in Belton, admitted that she unlawfully dispensed large quantities of drugs that were prescribed by Elder, a physician who practices medicine in Houston. The Medicine Shoppe purchased inordinately large quantities of hydrocodone, a prescription pain killer (in both its generic and brand name forms, such as Lortab and Lorcet) from suppliers. Evidence during the trial indicated that The Medicine Shoppe’s purchases of hydrocodone were among the largest in the state. Rostie admitted that the conspiracy involved more than 2 million dosage units of hydrocodone.
Rostie made gross sales of at least $991,114 from filling the unlawful prescriptions and distributing those controlled substances. In addition to hydrocodone, the conspiracy also involved 336,240 units of alprazolam, a sedative and anti-anxiety medication (in both its generic and brand name forms, such as Xanax), and more than 1.2 milliliters of promethazine with codeine syrup, used to relieve coughs and upper respiratory symptoms associated with allergy or common cold (in both its generic and brand name forms, such as Phenergan with codeine).
Elder wrote hundreds of unlawful and invalid prescriptions, which Solomon, co-owner of Ascensia Nutritional Pharmacy, sent by facsimile to Rostie at The Medicine Shoppe. Rostie filled the unlawful prescriptions and had the controlled substances delivered by FedEx to Elder and Solomon.
Solomon distributed the prescription drugs and provided 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.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated approximately four hours before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, ending a trial that began Monday, June 21, 2010.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rudolph R. Rhodes, IV and Curt Bohling. It was investigated by the Missouri Board of Pharmacy and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
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