Philadelphia Man Sentenced to Seven Years For Over 30 Counts of Narcotics Offenses Connected to PA-NJ Prescription Forgery Ring

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Marques Russell, 37, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to seven years in prison, three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $3,100 special assessment and forfeiture of $129,600 by United States District Judge C. Darnell Jones, II, for his role in an inter-state prescription forgery ring.

In October 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to 31 counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. The charges stem from Russell’s participation in a forged prescription ring, in which he and others presented fake prescriptions, forging doctors’ signatures, to pharmacies in order to obtain large amounts of oxycodone for illegal resale. The defendant admitted to presenting such prescriptions on 31 occasions to pharmacies in Drexel Hill and Kennett Square, PA. Over a roughly two-year period from about February 2017 through May 2019, Russell obtained 4,320 oxycodone tablets totaling 129,600 milligrams. The defendant was charged by Indictment in 2019, along with eleven others who presented forged prescriptions, and one complicit pharmacist in New Jersey.

“Pharmacies and pharmacists have a responsibility to serve as gatekeepers of a closed system of prescription drug distribution. This defendant and his co-conspirators took advantage of that system to flood the streets of our region with dangerous opioid drugs, no doubt exacerbating the epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Our Office will continue to investigate and prosecute healthcare fraud crimes like this in an effort to deter such conduct and keep our communities safe.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Easttown Township Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David E. Troyer.