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Press Release

Madera Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Hundreds of Thousands of Opiate Pills

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno residents Ifeanyi Vincent Ntukogu, 49, and Kelo White, 43, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute and distributing oxycodone and hydrocodone, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court records, from December 2014 through November 2018, in Madera and Fresno, Ntukogu, a pharmacist, dispensed over 200,000 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills based on prescriptions delivered to him by White and co-defendant Donald Ray Pierre, 55, of Fresno, that they knew were forged and fraudulent. Ntukogu reviewed each prescription and rejected the ones that he believed regulators may deem suspicious. For example, Ntukogu rejected prescriptions that were written by certain doctors or that were written for individuals who were having prescriptions filled at other pharmacies. He also alerted White and Pierre when the required language on the prescription pads changed.

Ntukogu dispensed the pills through his New Life Pharmacy in Madera. Upon doing so, he required cash payments from White and Pierre and increased the price that he charged over time.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the California Department of Health Care Services. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Antonio Pataca and Joseph Barton are prosecuting the case.

Ntukogu and White are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 23, 2024. They face statutory maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the conspiracy to distribute and distribution convictions. The actual sentences, however, will 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.

Pierre, the other defendant in the case, was previously convicted and sentenced to nine years and four months in prison.

Updated June 17, 2024

Prescription Drugs