Suffolk County, N.Y. Man Sentenced To 42 Months In Prison For Stealing Oxycodone From Manufacturing Facility
NEWARK, N.J. – A Suffolk County, New York, man who worked at a facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey, that manufactured oxycodone was sentenced today to 42 months in prison for stealing more than 70,000 pills from the facility, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Edwin Hernandez, 49, of North Babylon, New York, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh to distribution and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. Judge McNulty imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Hernandez was previously employed at one of the largest manufacturers of oxycodone in the United States at the company’s Elizabeth facility. On Nov. 21, 2012, he was seen by another employee scooping 30 mg oxycodone pills into a quart-sized plastic bag. A subsequent search of Hernandez’ locker by security revealed a backpack containing 8,591 30 mg oxycodone pills. Law enforcement eventually recovered an additional 61,535 pills from Hernandez’ residence. The street value of the stolen pills is $1.4 million to $2.1 million.
Oxycodone, also known as “oxy,” is a narcotic analgesic or painkiller and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. Demand for oxycodone-based prescription pain medication has grown to epidemic proportions in the United States and dealers profit by selling such medication on the street. Oxycodone-based Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, and users will often crush and snort the pills or dissolve and inject them to get an immediate high. This abuse can lead to addiction, overdose and sometimes death.
In addition to the prison term, Judge McNulty sentenced Hernandez to three years of supervised release and ordered forfeiture of $47,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Jamari Buxton of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Howard Leader Esq., New York