Indian American man charged for illegal drug distribution ring in Pennsylvania

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Indian American pharmacist Mitesh Patel, 36, along with Anthony Vetri, 31, and Michael Vandergrift, 29, of Delaware County in Pennsylvania were all charged on Wednesday with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a pain reliever, according to Acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen’s office.

Patel was also charged with one count of money laundering conspiracy and three counts of tax evasion and both Vetri and Vandergrift are facing a murder charge in regards to the January 2012 death of Gbolahan Olabode, a co-conspirator of their illegal opioid distribution ring, Lappen’s office added.

According to an investigation by the Justice Department, Patel, a pharmacist and owner of Dava Pharmacy, Dava Pharmacy #2, and Drexel Hill Pharmacy in Delaware County, harbored wholesale quantities of oxycodone for Vetri, Vandergrift and Olabode to sell illegally on the streets between 2008 and 2013, who then gave the profits to Patel, said a superseding indictment that was just recently released.

The indictment also claims that both Vetri and Vandergrift along with Michael Mangold, who was separately charged, murdered Olabode on January 4, 2014, outside of his home in means to remove him as a potential rival so they could increase their illegal supplies of oxycodone.

Also on the indictment it stated that Patel, Olabode, who also co-owned the pharmacies with Patel, along with others who were not named, were depositing large amounts of money from the illegal distribution into several bank accounts that were associated with the pharmacies.

Patel and Olabode then wrote checks from those accounts and falsely stated them on their business records as the return of equity contributions to the pharmacies which they then deposited into their personal accounts, said Lappen’s office.

The Justice Department said that the government is seeking a fine of more than $2.7 million in drug proceeds and more than $1 million in laundered drug money from the three and if convicted, they will end up facing lengthy sentences, noted Lappen’s office.