Ringleader of Gloucester City Drug Ring and His Son Sentenced for Trafficking Prescription Pills and Engaging in SNAP Fraud
CAMDEN, N.J. – A Camden County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to a federal prison term for leading a conspiracy to distribute and sell oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax while also defrauding the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and his son was sentenced for conspiring with his father to distribute Adderall, distributing oxycodone, and defrauding the SNAP program by using unlawfully obtained benefits sold to him by his father, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Rocco DePoder, 68, of Gloucester City, New Jersey, was sentenced to 70 months in prison. His son, Michael DePoder, 41, also of Gloucester City, was sentenced to five years of probation, with 14 months of home detention with location monitoring. Rocco DePoder previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb to an information charging him with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, distributing a quantity of oxycodone, and unlawfully acquiring SNAP benefits in exchange for controlled substances and unlawfully using and possessing those and other SNAP benefits. Michael DePoder previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before Judge Bumb to an information charging him with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Adderall, distributing oxycodone, and unlawfully acquiring and using SNAP benefits. Judge Bumb imposed both sentences today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Rocco DePoder admitted that on multiple occasions from June 2019 to March 2020, he worked with Erick Bell and others to sell oxycodone in New Jersey. Rocco DePoder obtained 60 80 mg. oxycodone pills for $25 per pill from Bell on February 3, 2020, with the intention of distributing the pills to other people. He also admitted to purchasing resale quantities of oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax from conspirators and reselling the pills to others, serving as a leader of criminal activity in that conspiracy. Rocco DePoder admitted to selling oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax pills to another person in exchange for a total of $8,374 in SNAP benefits, which were on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, and then personally using some of those SNAP benefits and selling and giving EBT cards to others so they could unlawfully use the SNAP benefits. SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program, is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. EBT cards are similar to debit cards and are used to make food purchases with SNAP benefits – when an EBT card is swiped at a food store authorized for participation in the SNAP program, the amount of the purchase is deducted electronically from the SNAP benefits reserved for the customer and the purchase amount is credited to the retailer’s designated bank account.
Michael DePoder admitted that on multiple occasions from December 2019 to March 2020, he distributed Adderall to his father, Rocco DePoder, as part of a drug distribution conspiracy. Michael DePoder also independently sold oxycodone pills to an associate on multiple occasions. He also admitted to unlawfully acquiring SNAP benefits from his father and unlawfully using and possessing those and other SNAP benefits totaling $2,676.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Bumb sentenced Rocco DePoder three years of supervised release, ordered him to pay restitution of $8,374 and forfeit cellphones, a police badge and $6,598 in case. She ordered Michael DePoder pay $2,676 in restitution.
Nine other defendants – Marcus Rushworth, 48of Gloucester City; Alfred Kee, Jr., 52, of Blackwood, New Jersey; Robert Pratt, 58, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, formerly of Blackwood; Eric Bell, 50, Steven Walker, 50, William Summers, 69, and Neal Thompson, 58, all of Camden; Antwan Tucker, 51, of Woodbury, New Jersey; and Anwar Abdullah, 32, of Pennsauken, New Jersey – previously pleaded guilty before Judge Bumb to informations charging them with drug trafficking offenses involving the distribution of prescription drugs. They are all awaiting sentencing. Kenneth Rushworth, 60, of Gloucester City, was previously sentenced to 1 year in federal prison, and Alexander Siaca, 56, of Camden was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, including 3 months of home detention with location monitoring. Charges remain pending against Maurice Williams, 40, and Lolita Paynter, 56, both of Camden, and Holly Clark, 40, of West Deptford, New Jersey.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI Philadelphia Division, South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley S. Benavides; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; the Camden County Sheriff's Office, under the direction of Sheriff Gilbert L. Wilson; the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, under the direction of Acting Director Laurie R. Doran; the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gabriel Rodriguez; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencings.
She also thanked the FBI Newark Division, New Jersey State Police, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the Special Prosecution Division in Newark.