FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec. 4, 2013
PILL DEALER SENTENCED TO 10+ YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR OPERATING A LOGAN-BASED PAIN PILL DISTRIBUTION SCHEME
Scheme involving thousands of prescription pain pills ends in jail time for Logan brothers
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Logan County man who organized an oxycodone trafficking scheme that included out-of-state trips to Florida to obtain thousands of powerful pain pills was sentenced yesterday to 10 years and one month in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Michael Ray Fortuna, 45, of Peach Creek, previously pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Fortuna’s sentence was handed down by United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston in Charleston.
Fortuna told police that he organized a pill distribution scheme that included his brother and co-defendant Ronald Fortuna, 36, also of Peach Creek, as well as other associates. Ronald Fortuna was sentenced in November to two years in prison for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
During the scheme, Michael Fortuna obtained oxycodone from pill sources located in Florida and, in some instances, he or others at his direction, including his brother, traveled to Florida and brought oxycodone pills back to Logan County to sell.
On April 29, 2011, investigators from the United States Postal Inspection Service seized a package addressed to Michael Fortuna. Investigators executed a federal search warrant on the package and discovered that it contained 1,789 30-milligram oxycodone tablets and bore a fictitious return address. Investigators approached Michael Fortuna as he arrived at the Peach Creek Post Office in Logan to retrieve the package. Michael Fortuna later told investigators that he had received a total of three packages containing oxycodone pills from Florida that month. Police determined that the package containing the oxycodone tablets had been mailed by Patrick Warren Napier, of Dingess, Mingo County, W.Va. Napier, 41, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
Fortuna also told investigators that he mailed cash to his source of supply located in Florida to pay for the illegal oxycodone deliveries. In particular, Michael Fortuna mailed a package that contained at least $30,000.
In late June or early July 2011, Ronald Fortuna boarded a plane en route to Florida with Guy R. Miller and another acquaintance to obtain oxycodone. On July 3, 2011, investigators from the Multi-Agency Diversion Task Force in Palm Beach County, Florida arrested one of Ronald Fortuna’s acquaintances at the West Palm Beach Airport as the men boarded a return flight to West Virginia. Fortuna’s acquaintance was found to be in possession of 1,377 30-milligram oxycodone tablets. The individual cooperated with law enforcement and later told police that he, Ronald Fortuna, and Miller were instructed to travel to Florida to pick up prescription pain pills. He identified Michael Fortuna as the head of a drug trafficking organization who obtained oxycodone from Palm Beach County, Fla. and later distributed the pills in Logan County, W.Va. The cooperating source also admitted that he had been recruited to carry oxycodone pills on his person during a return flight to West Virginia.
Ronald Fortuna told police that he regularly sold oxycodone tablets from his Peach Creek residence from at least the summer of 2009 until late summer 2011. During the scheme, Ronald Fortuna distributed a total of approximately 2,500 30-milligram oxycodone tablets.
Guy Miller previously pleaded guilty in November to distribution of oxycodone. Miller, 39, who also previously pled guilty to federal charges in connection with a Logan arson scheme, faces a minimum of seven years in prison when he is sentenced on February 19, 2014.
The United States Postal Inspection Service, the US 119 Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Logan County Sheriff’s Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks handled the prosecution.
This case was prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District.