A Lawrence County doctor was among eight suspects charged Dec. 22 in a large-scale illegal OxyContin distribution ring.
Attorney General Tom Corbett said the nine-month grand jury investigation centered on Dr. Alan Egleston of New Wilmington, who was an emergency room physician at Aliquippa Community Hospital.
He said Egleston allegedly wrote hundreds of fraudulent OxyContin prescriptions for more than 21,000 pills, charging between $1,000 and $2,000 for each one.
Agents of the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation were in the process of arresting the men in connection with the ring that operated in Allegheny and Beaver counties.
Corbett said the grand jury found that Egleston allegedly sold a majority of the fraudulent OxyContin prescriptions to Kevin O'Brien, an Allegheny County Jail guard, who established a network of OxyContin abusers.
Corbett said the investigation began in March of 2005 when a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent contacted a bureau agent about information that Egleston was writing prescriptions without treating patients.
Corbett said some of the prescriptions that Egleston had written had his home address and cell phone number printed on them. He said as part of the investigation, agents conducted surveillance of Egleston's home over several days but found no evidence he was treating patients in his home.
Corbett said the grand jury found that:
*O'Brien would find people who were addicted to narcotic pain killers, such as OxyContin, and give Egleston their name to write on the prescription. The grand jury found no evidence the doctor ever treated them.
*O'Brien would pay Egleston $1,000 for a prescription of 40 milligrams of OxyContin and $2,000 for an 80 milligram prescription.
*After obtaining a fraudulent prescription in another person's name from the doctor, O'Brien took the prescription back to the person and went with him or her to fill it at a pharmacy. He had them pay for the prescription with their insurance or Access cards. If their insurance was not accepted, O'Brien gave them cash to fill the prescription.
*After the prescription was filled, the individuals returned the drugs to O'Brien, who gave them a few pills and kept the rest. O'Brien gave them the pill bottle in case they were stopped by police.
Corbett said information obtained during the investigation demonstrates that O'Brien allegedly sold and distributed the remaining pills.
As part of the investigation, Corbett said, his agents interviewed the individuals for whom Egleston wrote prescriptions.
One of them, Pasquale Capizzi of Allison Park, Allegheny County, is the former deputy chief in the Allegheny County treasurer's office.
Agents subpoenaed O'Brien's and Capizzi's cell phone records and found they were in contact with each other approximately 1,480 times between September 2004 and December 2004.
Corbett said that the investigation continues and more arrests are expected.
The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in Beaver County District Court and will be prosecuted in Beaver County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Cherba of the Attorney General's Drug Strike Force Section.
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