Tampa Pharmacist Among Three Convicted in Pill Mill Case

A federal jury in Ohio recently convicted a Tampa pharmacist and two other people of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. The convictions come as part of a multi-state effort to crack down on “pill mills,” or drug dispensaries that illegally distribute huge amounts of addictive painkillers to drug dealers and abusers.

In a statement, U.S. attorney Steven M. Dettelbach of the northern district of Ohio said that Vinesh Darji, 42, was also convicted on nine counts of dispensing hydrocodone unlawfully.

According to records at the Florida Department of Health, Darji is licensed as a pharmacist and as a pharmacist consultant.

The other two defendants convicted along with Darji are Audrey Barbara Rovedo, 64, a Jacksonville manager at Delta Health, and Dr. Terence Sasaki, 41, of New Jersey.

A total of 13 people have been convicted in connection with the drug distribution operation, including pharmacists, doctors, a call-center manager and others. Their cases stem from that of James Hazelwood, 42, of Georgia, who pled guilty to charges of illegally distributing millions of doses of prescription painkillers to drug users who did not have proper prescriptions.

The painkillers were sent to recipients in all 50 states and were worth millions of dollars.

According to court documents, Hazelwood’s organization was supplied painkillers by pharmacists and then distributed them to people who contacted the company through websites and call centers.

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