Alamogordo Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Fraudulently Obtain Prescription Drugs
ALBUQUERQUE – Connie Coble, 52, of Alamogordo, N.M., pled guilty this afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to participating in a conspiracy to obtain prescription drugs by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception and subterfuge by filling fraudulent prescriptions at retail pharmacies.
Coble and her co-defendant Sharon Carter, 57, also of Alamogordo, were charged in a 66-count indictment filed on March 19, 2014. Count 1 of the indictment charged both women with conspiracy to fraudulently obtain Hydrocodone, a prescription painkiller, by filling fraudulent prescriptions at retail pharmacies in Doña Ana and Otero Counties, N.M., between Aug. 10, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2013. Count 2 charged Carter alone with unlawfully distributing Hydrocodone between Dec. 2011 and Dec. 2013 in Otero County, and Counts 3 through 66 charged Carter alone with fraudulently obtaining Hydrocodone on dates between April 20, 2013 and Dec. 19, 2013.
Today Coble, who was arrested on March 21, 2014, pled guilty to Count 1 of the indictment, the sole charge against her, pursuant to a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In her plea agreement, Coble admitted that between Aug. 10, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2013, she conspired with Carter to fill fraudulent prescriptions for Hydrocodone at various pharmacies in Doña Ana and Otero Counties. According to the plea agreement, Carter posed as a doctor and called in prescriptions for non-existent persons and Coble went with Carter to the pharmacies to pick up the Hydrocodone after the prescriptions had been filled.
At sentencing, Coble faces a statutory maximum penalty of four years in prison. She remains on conditions of release pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Carter, who was arrested on Dec. 19, 2013, based on a criminal complaint, entered a guilty plea to all 66 counts of the indictment on April 30, 2014, without the benefit of any plea agreement. Carter has been in federal custody since her arrest and remains detained pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Carter faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
This case was investigated by the Tactical Diversion Squad of the El Paso Division of the DEA with assistance from the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Alamogordo Department of Public Safety, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gould of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squads combine DEA resources with those of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an innovative effort to investigate, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of violating the Controlled Substances Act or other appropriate federal, state or local statutes pertaining to the diversion of licit pharmaceutical controlled substances or listed chemicals.