Cecil County Prescription Drug Dealers Sentenced to Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 18, 2013|
BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Matthew Earl Ward, age 33, of Elkton, Maryland, today to 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam. Judge Hollander sentenced James Stevenson, age 47, of Elkton, Maryland, to five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Cecil County Sheriff Barry A. Janney, Sr.; and Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to the evidence presented at their eight-day trial, Matthew Ward and James Stevenson were part of a conspiracy that operated for several years distributing prescription drugs in and around Cecil County, Maryland. Ward primarily obtained the prescription drugs from individuals who went to doctors’ offices, obtained large prescriptions for oxycodone and other pills, and then sold many of the pills they obtained to Ward and other conspirators. Stevenson and others traveled to Florida to obtain prescriptions for oxycodone, which Stevenson then sold in bulk quantities, primarily to Ward or another conspirator.
A witness testified at trial that approximately 15 people provided Ward with pills from their prescriptions. Ward sold the drugs, typically charging $20 per 30mg pill of oxycodone. Although testimony showed that Ward also used some of the drugs he obtained, intercepted telephone communications made clear that Ward’s primary source of income was the sale of prescription drugs.
Several of the individuals who provided pills to the conspiracy obtained prescriptions from multiple doctors. Ward and other conspirators provided some of these individuals with transportation and money for their doctors’ appointments and prescriptions. Ward also provided urine to some of these individuals to ensure that they would pass if a urine test were administered at a doctor’s office. Ward was reimbursed in pills.
In July 2010, the residence where Ward was staying was searched by law enforcement, who recovered seven methadone pills, 22 oxycodone pills, and $950 in cash from the room Ward was using. Ward continued distributing prescription pills until his arrest on November 17, 2010. At the time of his arrest, Ward was in possession of 81 15mg tablets and 21 30mg tablets of oxycodone.
Testimony at trial established that Stevenson made trips to Florida in October and November 2010, during which prescription drugs were obtained. Specifically, during each trip, Stevenson and his friend obtained prescriptions for 30mg oxycodone pills from two doctors. Stevenson’s friend sold all of the pills he obtained to Stevenson. Other co-conspirators went along on the trips and also obtained prescriptions for 30mg oxycodone pills, providing the majority of the pills to Stevenson but keeping some for themselves. Stevenson distributed at least 365 pills to Ward after the October trip to Florida and obtained several hundred additional 30 mg oxycodone pills on the November trip.
Stevenson falsely testified at trial that he was not involved in selling oxycodone.
In total, the members of the conspiracy distributed several hundred thousand milligrams of oxycodone.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, FBI, Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, and Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Kaul, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.