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Press Release

Leader Of Sarasota Oxycodone Distribution Ring Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida - Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Robert Benefield (44, Sarasota) pleaded guilty today to a one count information charging him with conspiring with others to distribute Oxycodone. Benefield faces a maximum penalty of thirty years in federal prison because of his prior felony drug convictions.

According to the plea agreement, in 2012, Benefield recruited drug users to unlawfully obtain Oxycodone and other prescription pain medications. Benefield coordinated with doctors in the Miami area, and drove his co-conspirators from Sarasota to these doctors' offices in Miami. The doctors sometimes met with persons recruited by Benefield, and gave them prescriptions for Oxycodone and other pain medications. Upon their return to Sarasota, the co-conspirators filled the prescriptions and turned the drugs over to Benefield for further illegal distribution, in exchange for money and drugs. Benefield also obtained prescriptions from doctors without having the prescribed patients actually present at the doctors' offices.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Sarasota Police Department as part of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation SRQ Cartel II, an ongoing investigation into the most serious drug traffickers in and around Sarasota. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation's illegal drug supply. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher F. Murray.

Updated January 26, 2015