Prescription Pill Ring Smashed Up

March 15, 2011 Updated Mar 15, 2011 at 7:13 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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March 15, 2011 Updated Mar 15, 2011 at 7:13 PM EDT

(Buffalo N.Y.) The New York State Attorney General's office announced on Tuesday the arrest of 10 people from Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

They were picked up in an early morning raid and charged in connection with running a illegal prescription pill and cocaine drug ring.

"As I said just two weeks ago when we announced the largest heroin bust in Buffalo history, my office will continue to crack down on drug traffickers to keep our communities safe," said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

"No matter how many investigations it takes, we will keep working to get narcotics off the streets so they can no longer wreak havoc on our residents."

According to authorities, the group conspired on a regular basis to get Lortabs (hydrocodone) and Suboxone.

Suboxone is a narcotic medicine used to treat people with opiate addictions - like heroin.

Lortab (hydrocondone) is a narcotic pain killer.

Police say two men, Michael Fiorello and Richard Koltoniak, were coaching the others to exaggerate their opiate addiction symptoms in order to get the maximum Suboxone prescription.

Fiorello and Koltoniak also used urine samples from young males in order to make it appear that they were in compliance with guidelines to get the Suboxone.

Detectives say the group sold the pills individually and used the profits to buy cocaine and marijuana for re-sale.

The arrests are a result of a year-long investigation.

Charged under the indictment are:

Michael Fiorello, 30, Buffalo
Louis Viggato, 29, Buffalo
William Franz, 32, Niagara Falls
Maurice Giles, 34 , Buffalo
Dave Novak, 29, Buffalo
Tony Winans, 27, Buffalo
Richard Koltoniak, 26, Buffalo
Dennis Failey, 55, Buffalo
Angelo Costantino, 25, Buffalo
Jackie Gilbert, 21, Buffalo

The investigation was led by Supervising Investigator Peter J. Talty of the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force, along with Investigator Thomas Vivian of the Organized Crime Task Force, together with Senior Investigator Vern McMillian of the New York State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Kevin Kane of the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force in the Buffalo Office, under the supervision of Peri Alyse Kadanoff, Deputy Attorney General in Charge of the New York State Attorney General's Organized Task Force. The Attorney General gratefully acknowledges the substantial assistance provided by the Erie County Sheriff's Department, under the leadership of Sheriff Timothy Howard and the Buffalo Police Department along with the Honorable Frank A. Sedita, Erie County District Attorney.