DENVER — The Colorado Attorney General’s Office announced the charging of fifteen individuals accused of fraudulently acquiring, diverting and distributing large amounts of oxycodone, a Schedule II Controlled Substance in the Denver-metro area as well as in Oklahoma.
“Crimes around prescription drugs are on the rise in Colorado and nationwide and we are seeing a proliferation of fraudulent schemes to obtain and divert oxycodone which is highly-addictive,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “Thanks to a coordinated effort between the medical, pharmacy, mental health, and law enforcement communities, we’ve dismantled a prescription-drug trafficking ring.”
Beginning in July 2010, Robin Steinke is accused of coordinating and orchestrating a scheme that relied on a group of people to profit from illegally acquiring and distributing oxycodone. Steinke directed her associates to obtain the drug so that her organization could sell it to people at an inflated price, approximately 50 cents per milligram or about $15.00 for one 30 mg dose. Steinke paid pharmacist Jeffrey Clawson who owned a Brighton, Colorado pharmacy to collaborate with her and her network of “patients” to divert large quantities of oxycodone for sale on the black market.
“Prescription drug abuse in Colorado is a growing problem, and today’s law enforcement action is evidence that DEA and our state and local partners intend to aggressively combat this problem,” said Special Agent in Charge Barbra M. Roach of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver Field Division. “If pharmacists and other medical professionals abuse their position and illegally divert oxycodone and other prescription drugs, they will be investigated and prosecuted just like any other drug trafficker.”
In addition to Robin Steinke (45 years) and Jeffrey Clawson (52 years), the Attorney General’s Office named 13 other individuals for their role, Celeste Deherrera (46 years), Leticia Deherrera (24 years), Christopher Peterson (a.k.a. Christopher Petersen) (39 years), Christopher Gemeinhardt (22 years), Shawna Lawley (30 years), Joel Barr (32 years), Jacqueline Geist (25 years), Andrew Guerrero (22 years), Lisa Teitelbaum (44 years), Rhonda Scott (52 years) , Sadie Grubbs (24 years), Daniel Burke (30 years) and Laurie Ann Larrew (46 years) in the 43-count indictment as participating in the drug ring. In addition to Colorado, the ring attempted to have fraudulent prescriptions filled for sale in Oklahoma and Kansas.
The Attorney General’s Office worked in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States Justice Department, the South Metro Drug Task Force, the North Metro Drug Task Force, Broomfield Police Department, Denver Police Department, Greenwood Village Police Department, Parker Police Department, Sheridan Police Department, Thornton Police Department, and the Carter County Oklahoma District Attorney’s Office.
The filing of criminal charges or an indictment is merely a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime. Each defendant should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. These cases will be prosecuted in Adams County District Court by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the Adams County District Attorney’s Office.
# # #