Four Indicted In Modesto Prescription Drug Ring
FRESNO, Calif. —United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today the unsealing of an indictment, returned by the grand jury February 19, 2015, charging Christina Antonia Martinez, 27; Lance Aaron Wilson, 30; and Mona Alicia Chavarin, 43, all of Modesto; and Lenele Maria Nunez, 31, of Hughson, with conspiring to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone and possession of the same substances on two occasions.
Oxycodone (street names “Hillbilly Heroin,” “Kicker,” “OC,” “Ox,” “Oxy,” “Perc,” or “Roxy”) and hydrocodone (street names “Hydro,” “Norco,” or “Vikes”) are classified under federal law as Schedule II controlled substances although hydrocodone, until October 6, 2014 was previously a Schedule III controlled substance. Both substances, when legally prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose, are used for the relief of mild to moderate pain and can be habit forming. However, they are commonly unlawfully abused as recreational drugs and sold illegally.
According to court documents, as early as December 1, 2013 and until January 13, 2015, the defendants conspired to unlawfully distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone. Nunez was an office manager at a Modesto pain management clinic and stole blank prescriptions from the clinic. Nunez provided these prescriptions to Martinez knowing that Martinez would enter false information on them, resulting in fraudulent prescriptions for large quantities of highly addictive, frequently diverted prescription drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone. Martinez and Wilson would provide these prescriptions to Chavarin, a pharmacy technician employed at a Modesto pharmacy. Nunez would verify the prescriptions to the pharmacy and Chavarin would provide the filled prescriptions of oxycodone or hydrocodone, or cause others to provide them, to Martinez and Wilson. Martinez and Wilson would distribute the unlawfully obtained oxycodone and hydrocodone to individuals for whom it had not been prescribed.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Modesto Police Department and the involvement of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen A. Servatius is prosecuting the case.
Martinez, Nunez, and Chavarin were arrested yesterday on the federal charges and appeared today in the United States District Court in Fresno for their first appearance. Nunez and Chavarin were ordered released from custody. Martinez will have a detention hearing tomorrow at 1:30. All defendants have a status conference on May 18 at 1:00 p.m.
If convicted, all defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of twenty years in prison and a $ 1 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.