A man described as a pill mill “mogul” received a sentence of 20 years in federal prison, but his sentence may be greatly reduced because of his cooperation with authorities.
According to court records, Vincent Colangelo, 43, dispensed more than half a million prescription pills such as oxycodone throughout Florida, racking up a small fortune before he was apprehended.
“This case is another sad reminder of the pill mill epidemic Florida is facing,” said Robert Joyce, a Tampa pill mill litigation attorney with Joyce & Reyes Law Firm. “While this perpetrator has been taken down, there are many victims still suffering from illegal distribution of prescription drugs.”
U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke indicated that prosecutors may eventually recommend that Colangelo’s sentence be reduced, because he is providing them with information about the illegal distribution of prescription drugs throughout the southeastern United States.
During Colangelo’s sentencing hearing, both the prosecution and defense declared that Colangelo had been very forthcoming and had significant knowledge of the organized selling of illegal pharmaceuticals that could not be obtained otherwise.
According to court records, Colangelo controlled eight different clinics in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, that dispensed more than 660,000 pills such as oxycodone over the course of 2009 and 2010. Colangelo’s indictment states that he used approximately 1,600 websites to solicit drug buyers across the country.
When Colangelo was arrested, authorities seized 50 vehicles, boats, cash, and real estate. Colangelo blamed his actions on his own drug addiction. Earlier he had spent four years in state prison, convicted for distributing cocaine and heroin.
Colangelo’s arrest was part of a February 2011 crackdown that resulted in the arrest of 20 people. Forty different clinics were targeted, and undercover agents made more than 340 purchases of painkillers. The state of Florida has become the center of a prescription drug abuse epidemic. According to state law enforcement, Florida clinics had been providing 85% of all oxycodone sold in the United States.
To assist the action by law enforcement, a database to track prescription drug purchases is now operational, a move that had been delayed because of opposition from Gov. Rick Scott.
Robert Joyce is a Tampa pill mill litigation attorney at Joyce & Reyes Law Firm. To learn more about the Tampa pill mill litigation lawyer, visit http://www.joyceandreyespa.com/ or call 1.888.771.1529.