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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Friday, July 26, 2013

Leader Of Baltimore Area Oxycodone Ring Sentenced To Prison

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Joseph Church, age 41, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 51 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Special Agent in Charge Nicholas DiGiulio, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Howard County Police Chief William McMahon; and Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis.

“Prescription drug trafficking is here in Maryland and it’s a growing problem that we in law enforcement will aggressively investigate,” stated Gary Tuggle, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office. “Church will now spend time in a federal prison far away from his family,” added Tuggle.

According to his guilty plea and other court documents, Church conspired with others to distribute oxycodone in the Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County areas. Church obtained blank prescriptions from Wendy Pinkard, his girlfriend at the time, who worked as an office manager in a medical facility. Between 2008 and 2011 Pinkard provided more than 175 prescriptions to Church. Church filled out the prescriptions, typically for 180 thirty milligram pills or for 90 eighty milligram oxycodone pills, then recruited individuals, some of whom used fake identities, to go into pharmacies to obtain the oxycodone pills. The individuals returned the pills to Church, who paid the individuals for obtaining the pills. Church sold the pills to drug dealers throughout the area, distributing the equivalent of approximately 46,000 thirty milligram pills of oxycodone over the course of the conspiracy. Thirty milligram oxycodone pills have a street value of between $12 and $30 per pill.

Wendy Pinkard, age 37, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to the same charge and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 5, 2013, at 2:00 p.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, HHS-OIG, Office of Investigations, Baltimore County Police Department, Howard County Police Department and Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Mushtaq Gunja and Kenneth S. Clark, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Updated January 26, 2015