Man Sentenced in Pill Mill Case
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
DALLAS — Muhammad Taylor, 32, was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to 30 months in federal prison on a felony conviction stemming from his involvement in a pill mill operation during parts of 2013-2014, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Taylor, most recently a resident of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty in October 2015 to one count of unlawful use of a communication facility.
Last month, co-defendants Shane Barron, 27, of Austin, Texas, and Tonya Sue Griggs, 34, of Dallas, who pleaded guilty to the same offense, were each sentenced to 37 months in federal prison.
In March 2015, a federal grand jury in Dallas indicted 23 individuals, including Taylor, Barron and Griggs, on offenses related to their participation in a prescription drug distribution conspiracy. That indictment alleged that from at least May 2013 through July 2014, the defendants participated in a scheme to illicitly obtain prescriptions for pain medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and then distribute those controlled substances for profit. As part of the conspiracy, individuals, often homeless or of limited means, were recruited and paid to pose as patients at medical clinics, including the McAllen Medical Clinic in Dallas, to obtain prescriptions to fill those prescriptions at designated pharmacies. Many of those defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
According to documents filed for Taylor, in February 2014, he and another co-conspirator met in the parking lot outside a pharmacy located on FM 1960 in Houston. The two entered the pharmacy together and exited a short while later. Taylor got into his own car and drove away, but was stopped a short time later by law enforcement officers, who seized approximately 154 10mg hydrocodone in an un-labeled prescription bottle from Taylor.
Taylor called the co-conspirator to tell him about the stop and that law enforcement had seized the pills he had just obtained even though he had the paperwork. The co-conspirator told Taylor not to worry, and that he would take care of it.
Taylor admitted he obtained these hydrocodone with the intent to distribute them at a later time, and he further admitted that he used his cell phone to coordinate obtaining and selling the hydrocodone.
Last month, a physician, Dr. Richard Andrews, 63, of Dallas, and pharmacists, Ndufola Kigham, 44, of Arlington, Texas, and Kumi Frimpong, 55, of Grand Prairie, Texas, were arrested on charges outlined in a superseding indictment that charged them with offenses related to their roles in the conspiracy. They are on bond; trial is set for June 2016. All three were ordered to surrender their DEA registration numbers, preventing Dr. Andrews from issuing prescriptions for controlled substances and pharmacists Kigham and Frimpong from dispensing controlled substances. Also, Kigham surrendered her stock of controlled substances that she had at her pharmacy to DEA.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Louisiana State Police, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Arlington Police Department, the Greenville Police Department, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Diplomatic Security Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters is prosecuting.
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Updated February 8, 2016