Pharmacy Owners Convicted for Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

APRIL 04, 2017
Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor

Two pharmacy owners were convicted of operating a pill mill out of their business, Medicine Center Pharmacy, in Atlanta, Georgia. The husband and wife duo, Rosemary Ofume and Donatus Iriele, allegedly conspired with a pain clinic across the street from the pharmacy to illegally dispense controlled substances to customers, according to a statement from the Northern District of Georgia’s Department of Justice.
In May 2009, agents of the DEA and the IRS began investigating The Medicine Center Pharmacy and AMARC pain clinic after the agents obtained information that the pharmacy and clinic were allegedly dispensing oxycodone pills and other opiates to drug addicts and dealers.
AMARC physicians Nevron Askari and William Richardson allegedly wrote prescriptions for medically inappropriate and potentially dangerous combinations of opiates and other narcotics, and directed individuals to fill their prescriptions at “Rosemary’s pharmacy,” according to published reports. Customers paid in cash to receive oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax, and Soma prescriptions, and then paid large sums of money for the pills at Medicine Center Pharmacy.
Ofume and Iriele worked together with Drs Askari and Richardson, along with Godfrey and Bona Ilonzo (who financed clinics under the AMARC name) to fill more than $5.1 million worth of illegal prescriptions. Employees at AMARC clinics and the Medicine Center Pharmacy also received discounts and special treatment, such as reduced prices for pills dispensed at the pharmacy.
Ofume also allegedly lied to pharmaceutical distributors to obtain large amounts of oxycodone and other prescription narcotics. The investigation revealed that Medicine Center Pharmacy purchased 11 times more oxycodone than the average pharmacy in Georgia in 2009.
The sentencing of Ofume and Iriele is scheduled for June 13, 2017.