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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Essex County, New Jersey, Man Pleads Guilty To Role In Oxycodone Distribution Ring

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted his role in a conspiracy to illegally obtain and distribute oxycodone in New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Rickie Horvath, 54, of Belleville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Using confidential sources, physical surveillance, and recorded text messages and telephone calls, investigators with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) discovered that members and suppliers of a drug-trafficking organization secured prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances from various doctors in New Jersey, filled them at pharmacies in Belleville and elsewhere, and sold the drugs for a profit. The investigation identified Horvath as a member of the drug trafficking organization.

Horvath admitted that from Feb. 5, 2014, to Aug. 13, 2014, he personally went to various doctors’ offices and obtained prescriptions for pills containing oxycodone, had the prescriptions filled, and sold the pills to members of the conspiracy and others. He said that on a single day in June 2014, he traveled to a doctor’s office in Livingston, New Jersey, where he and two conspirators each obtained a prescription for 60 Endocet pills. Horvath and his conspirators dropped off the three prescriptions to be filled by a pharmacy in East Orange, New Jersey. Horvath admitted that he and his two conspirators then found a fourth conspirator to buy the 180 Endocet pills. Horvath and his conspirators traveled to the East Orange pharmacy with the third conspirator buyer, where Horvath used the fourth conspirator’s money to purchase the filled prescriptions. Horvath and his conspirators then sold the 180 Endocet pills to the fourth conspirator.                                                     

Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance – meaning that it has a high potential for

abuse, a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions, and abuse of the drug may lead

to severe psychological or physical dependence. The Endocet pills obtained and sold by Horvath each contained 10 milligrams of oxycodone.

The charge to which Horvath pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 12, 2016.

Of the individuals originally charged with Horvath – Victoria Horvath, 43, of Belleville, New Jersey; Monica Horvath, 22, Tony Marco, 47, and Steven Horvath, 45, all of Rutherford, New Jersey; and Justin Farraj, 24, of Newark, New Jersey – all have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Brian Perez, 23, was sentenced in September 2014 to 40 months in prison. Luis Rivera, 25, was sentenced in August 2015 to 54 months in prison. In April 2016, Daniel Horvath, 27, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and Johnny Horvath, 46, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Charges were dismissed against Belleville pharmacist Vincent Cozzarelli after his death in April 2014.

The indictment remains pending against five other conspirators; the charges and allegations in the indictment against them are merely accusations, and they remain innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the DEA’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark. The principal mission of the OCDETF program, under which this investigation was conducted, 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.

Defense counsel: Damian Conforti Esq., Newark

Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs
Press Release Number: 
Updated September 2, 2016