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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Delaware County Convicted Murderer and Opioid Dealer Sentenced to Life in Prison

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that his office secured a life sentence today in a case involving a Delaware County man convicted of murder through the use of a firearm and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Anthony Vetri, 30, of Essington, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gerald J. Pappert. Vetri and Michael Vandergrift, 31, of Chester, were convicted of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone from 2008 until June 4, 2013. During the conspiracy, Vetri obtained large sums of oxycodone from a registered pharmacist, Mitesh Patel, who owned and operated three pharmacies in the greater Philadelphia area. Vetri then supplied Vandergrift with oxycodone, and both distributed the drugs throughout Delaware and Philadelphia Counties. During the course of the conspiracy, Vetri received and distributed in excess of 100,000 oxycodone tablets, earning him hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug proceeds.  

During the drug conspiracy, Patel illegally provided oxycodone to others, including his business partner, Gbolahan Olabode. Beginning in the fall of 2011, Vetri and Vandergrift conspired to eliminate Olabode as a competitor to boost Vetri and Vandergrift’s oxycodone supply from Patel. Vetri and Vandergrift ultimately decided to murder Olabode, and Vandergrift recruited Michael Mangold and Allen Carter to assist. On January 4, 2012, Vandergrift, Mangold, and Carter went to Olabode’s residence in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania and waited for Olabode to return home. When Olabode returned, Vandergrift and Mangold each used a firearm to fire 27 shots at Olabode as he carried groceries into his home. The assailants struck the victim 13 times in his head and body, causing Olabode’s death. Following Olabode’s murder, Vetri celebrated Olabode’s death and continued to illegally distribute oxycodone that he obtained from Patel. 

“The depravity of Vetri’s crimes knows no bounds. For years, the defendant poisoned his own community by fueling the opioid crisis in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Vetri’s distribution of over 100,000 oxycodone pills helped ruin people’s lives, and I have no doubt that many of Vetri’s customers continue to battle opioid abuse and addiction,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The defendant is a violent drug trafficker who brought terror to the streets when he senselessly plotted the ambush and brutal murder of one of his rivals. Vetri has no respect for the law and no respect for human life. The defendant has never expressed remorse, nor has he accepted any responsibility for his actions. We are grateful that the Court held the defendant accountable for his violent and destructive conduct.”

Patel, Mangold, and Carter all previously pleaded guilty to charges for their respective involvement in drug distribution, the murder of Olabode, and other offenses, and are currently awaiting sentencing.

"For years, this defendant took advantage of addicts' misery, flooding the streets with pills and fueling the opioid crisis in our community," said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. "As he and his co-conspirator cashed in, they devised a brutal business plan: get more drugs and make more money by murdering the competition. Vetri is a danger to society on many levels, and this sentence is richly deserved." 

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Lansdowne Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan B. Ortiz and David. E. Troyer are prosecuting the case.

 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated June 5, 2018