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Justice News

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

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Nurse Practitioner, Two Others, Arrested And Charged With Illegally Selling Fentanyl

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE:  (716) 843-5817
FAX #:                 (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Jennifer Courton, 28; Calvin Elston, Jr., 38, both of Buffalo, NY; and Brandon M. Coburn, 32, of West Seneca, NY, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute, and to distribute, fentanyl and conspitacy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, fentanyl. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Caleb J. Petzoldt, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, between December 2014 and April 2015, Coburn, a licensed nurse practitioner, provided fraudulent Fentanyl prescriptions to Courton and Elston. As a nurse practitioner, Coburn can legally prescribe controlled substances. These prescriptions however were filled by Courton and Elston and sold on the street in the Buffalo area and were not used for a legitimate medical purpose. In some instances, they paid other individuals $50 to fill the prescriptions for them.  

Coburn, who is not currently employed as a nurse practitioner in the Western District of New York, previously surrendered his medical license in the State of Arizona for improper professional practice and misconduct. He is the second medical professional arrested this week for a crime involving controlled substances.   

Coburn, Courton and Elston made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy. Coburn and Courton were released on conditions. Elston is being held pending a detention hearing on June 8, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated June 8, 2015