1. SOUNDBITE (English) Benjamin Glassman, U.S. attorney for Ohio's southern district:
"We are here today to announce an indictment, a federal criminal indictment against one company and four individuals. The company is Miami-Luken Inc., the opioid wholesale distributor. The individuals are Miami-Luken's president and CEO from 2008 to 2015, Anthony Rattini, its compliance officer during that same period James Barclay, also Devonna Miller-West, a pharmacist and owner of Westside pharmacy in Oceana, West Virginia, and Samuel R. Ballengee, a pharmacist and the owner of Tug Valley pharmacy in Williamson, West Virginia."
2. Close of Department of Justice seal
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Benjamin Glassman, U.S. attorney for Ohio's southern district:
"Based on the conclusion of the investigation, we brought this case before a federal grand jury here in Cincinnati, which has returned the indictment saying that Rattini, Barclay, the pharmacists and unnamed pharmacies – also all detailed in the indictment – did agree that they were going to violate the Controlled Substances Act and they were doing so for profit. That is why we are bringing criminal charges today."
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Benjamin Glassman, U.S. attorney for Ohio's southern district:
"So, from 2011 to 2015, Rattini, Barclay and Miami-Luken distributed more than 2.3 million dosage units of oxycodone and more than 2.6 million dosage units of hydrocodone to defendant Devonna Miller-West and Westside pharmacy in a town of about 1,400 people."
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Benjamin Glassman, U.S. attorney for Ohio's southern district:
"If you follow the trail of distributions by Miami-Luken to these red flag pharmacies over time, the path snakes and branches from Portsmouth, Ohio, and down into West Virginia and Kentucky."
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Benjamin Glassman, U.S. attorney for Ohio's southern district:
"I do believe that it is incumbent on us as the Department of Justice to ensure that justice is done regardless of whether the person is dealing at the street level or enabling it in a boardroom. If somebody is criminally responsible, they should be prosecuted and held accountable. And that is what today's indictment is about. Thank you."
A wholesale drug distributor linked to the flood of opioids into Appalachia and two of its former executives were charged with conspiring to illegally distribute millions of painkiller pills, federal authorities said Thursday.
The former executives of Ohio-based Miami-Luken — the president and compliance officer — along with two pharmacists in West Virginia were indicted by a federal grand jury in Cincinnati, said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman.
The conspiracy allegedly involved pharmacies from Portsmouth, Ohio, along the Ohio River to rural towns through West Virginia and Kentucky, a region particularly hard-hit by painkiller overprescribing and overuse.
Glassman said authorities mean to "hold accountable" anyone criminally involved at any point in drug distribution.
"If you are intentionally violating the law, you can and should and will face justice regardless of where you are," Glassman said. "Whether you are on the street corner or in a boardroom."
Prescription opioid statistics made public this week underscored how pill distribution soared as the nation's overdose epidemic grew.
Miami-Luken distributed 120 million pills from 2006 through 2012, according to newly public federal data published by The Washington Post.
An Associated Press analysis found that 11.4 million of those pills, or nearly 10%, went to Mingo County, West Virginia, an area with a population of about 24,000.
The company was the top opioid pill distributor in the county over that stretch; it was in the top five of only one neighboring county, Kentucky's Martin County, where the company distributed 574,000 pills over that span.