Johnston Man Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Heroin, Possessing a Pill Press
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE – Jack A. Hoogasian, 44, of Johnston, RI, pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence on Tuesday to possession with the intent to distribute heroin and possession of a pill press. A pill press is used to produce counterfeit narcotics, in this case, oxycodone.
Hoogasian’s guilty plea before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith is announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
According to Rhode Island state court documents, in May 2016, the Rhode Island State Police Intelligence Unit developed information that Jack Hoogasian was trafficking counterfeit narcotics pills he produced with a pill press from his residence. On at least two occasions, the State Police Intelligence Unit arranged for the purchase of narcotics pills from Hoogasian. Each transaction consisted of the purchase of multiple blue pills stamped A 215. Blue pills stamped A 215 are how the prescription drug oxycodone hydrochloride (30 mg.) is labeled for sale.
According to court documents, field tests conducted by Rhode Island State Police of the first batch of pills purchased from Hoogasian tested positive for the presence of amphetamine. Subsequent testing by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations forensic specialist determined that the pills were counterfeit. Testing of the second batch of pills tested positive for the presence of heroin and amphetamine.
According to information presented to the court at the time of Hoogasian’s guilty plea in federal court, on May 17, 2016, Rhode Island State Police executed a court-authorized search of Hoogasian’s residence. In the basement of Hoogasian’s residence, 22 blue pills stamped A 215, three large bags of powder, and a pill press machine were seized. Forty-nine blue pills stamped A 215 were seized from a garage.
Hoogasian is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on August 11, 2017. Possession with the intent to distribute heroin is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 20 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000 and a term of supervised release of 3 years to life. Possession of a pill press is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 1 year in federal prison, a fine of up to $1,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 1 year.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, thank the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations for their assistance in the investigation of this matter.
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
on Twitter @USAO_RI
Updated May 17, 2017
Press Release Number: 17-51