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KELSO WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN SW WASHINGTON PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE NETWORK
Defendant Admits She Illegally Sold Oxycodone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2007

LAURA T. MACALALAD, 41, of Kelso, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to Distribution of Oxycodone. MACALALAD admits that during 2007 she sold Oxycodone to others from her residence in Kelso. She is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle on January 4, 2008.

MACALALAD was indicted in August 2007, as part of a coordinated law enforcement effort to address a growing problem of prescription drug abuse in Southwest Washington. Oxycodone is a prescription narcotic pain killer that is highly addictive. During the course of this eight month investigation, the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force members used undercover agents, officers and informants to purchase the narcotics. Many of the transactions were recorded on video and audio. MACALALAD is the sixth of several defendants indicted federally to plead guilty.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 6 million Americans are currently abusing controlled substance prescription drugs – that is more than the number abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined. Researchers at the Center for Disease Control report that opiate prescription pain killers cause more overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin. Cowlitz County has seen increasing numbers of overdoses and deaths from prescription narcotics.

Distribution of Oxycodone is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

The cases were investigated by the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The August arrests involved officers and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office, the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office, the Longview Police Department, the Kelso Police Department, the Castle Rock Police Department, the Washington State Patrol, the U.S. Marshal Service, and the Washington State Department of Corrections.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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