Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Pill Mill Operation

A Dallas pharmacist has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge for his involvement in a pill mill" operation to distribute oxycodone illegally in Texas.

A Dallas pharmacist has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge for his involvement in a “pill mill” operation to distribute oxycodone illegally in Texas.

The operation, which began in January 2013 and continued through July 2014, involved illicitly obtaining prescriptions for pain medications, namely oxycodone and hydrocodone, and distributing them for profit. Kumi Frimpong, who was the pharmacist in charge at Cornerstone Pharmacy, and his coconspirators recruited individuals who were homeless or of limited means to pose as patients at medical clinics. These “patients” visited clinics, such as McAllen Medical Clinic, to obtain prescriptions and fill them at designated pharmacies.

Frimpong admitted that he and his codefendants distributed and caused to be distributed at least 40,000 oxycodone 30 mg tablets in Dallas and elsewhere. They dispensed the opioids based on prescriptions issued in the name and US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number of coconspirator Richard Andrews, MD, of McAllen Medical Clinic.

Following their arrests in January 2016, Dr. Andrews, Frimpong, and pharmacist Ndufola Kigham surrendered their DEA registration numbers, preventing Dr. Andrews from issuing prescriptions of controlled substances and Frimpong and Kigham from dispensing controlled substances. The 2 pharmacists also surrendered their pharmacies’ stock of controlled substances to the DEA.

According to a DEA press release issued on September 7, 2016, Frimpong pleaded guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone. As part of his plea, Frimpong also agreed to surrender $41,112 to the United States, which constitutes proceeds from dispensing oxycodone during the scheme. If convicted, he faces the maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine. His sentencing is set for mid-December, while Dr. Andrews’ trial date is set for October 24, 2016.

In February 2015, 24 individuals were indicted on offenses related to their involvement in the conspiracy. Superseding indictments were returned in December 2015 and January 2016, and 31 individuals have now been charged, many of whom have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to prison for terms ranging from 30 months to 48 months.

Coconspirator Muhammad Faridi, who was a part owner of the McAllen Medical Clinic, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in August 2016. He will be sentenced on November 18, 2016.

Other defendants include Earl Cain, who pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a communication device and was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison. Glenda Cane also pleaded guilty to the same offense, and Ivery Meyers pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Fahim Ahmed Khan, Taneisha Nicole Nickerson, Brandon Dunbar, and Candis O’Shaea Lewis have also pleaded guilty.