BUFFALO, N.Y.--( RELEASE) U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that five defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell OxyContin pills before Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M, Skretny. Elora Lee, 50, of Buffalo, Andrew Meidinger, 23, of Lancaster, Olivia Paschell, 40, of Buffalo, Christopher Priebe, 23 of Lancaster and Sophie Wroblewski, 39, of Buffalo, face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe, who is handling the case, stated that the defendants were arrested in July 2010 along with 28 others, following a long-term investigation into the widespread illegal sale of prescription drugs in the City of Buffalo, Cheektowaga and other neighboring towns.
Lee, Wroblewski and Paschell all pleaded guilty to selling their prescribed OxyContin pills to another defendant, Michael McCall who is accused of redistributing the pills to a network of sellers. Meidinger and Priebe pleaded guilty to distributing OxyContin pills to customers in the Cheektowaga/Lancaster area. Both defendants the pills from a source with ties to the prescription pill-trafficking network allegedly supervised by McCall.
"The abuse of drugs such as OxyContin is a growing problem in neighborhoods across the country," said U.S. Attorney Hochul. "Besides leading to a possible lifetime addiction, those who engage in such crimes frequently induce the buyers to abuse even more dangerous substances, such as heroin. My Office is fully committed to prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law anyone who attempts to illegally traffic any such narcotic substances."
The pleas are the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Dale Kasprzyk, in conjunction with many state and local authorities such as the New York State Police, the Buffalo Police Department, the Cheektowaga Police Department, the West Seneca Police Department, the Lancaster Police Department, the Amherst Police Department and the Lockport Police Department.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 20, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. for Lee, Paschell and Wroblewski, April 16, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. for Priebe and April 15, 2011 at 9:00 a..m. for Meidinger, all before Judge Skretny.