NE pharmacist charged in drug operation

A Castor Gardens pharmacist was among 53 people charged criminally last week in connection with a multimillion-dollar pill mill specializing in oxycodone distribution.

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger on Aug. 10 announced the 498-count federal indictment, which names Ihsanullah “Sean” Maaf, 33, a pharmacist at Northeast Pharmacy, 6730 Bustleton Ave., as a conspirator.

According to the court filing, Philadelphia resident William Stukes, 49, and Willow Grove-based family physician Norman M. Werther, 71, masterminded the scheme.

Stukes allegedly recruited dozens of people who were taken to Werther’s medical office for bogus examinations. In exchange for a cash fee, the doctor would then prescribe oxycodone-based drugs to the patients, although there was no medical justification for the prescriptions, authorities claim.

Oxycodone is a generic term for a pain relief drug derived from opium and found in brand medications like OxyContin and Percocet.

Werther allegedly charged $150 per “patient.” The prescriptions would then be taken to area pharmacies, notably Northeast Pharmacy, where they would be filled. Stukes would collect the pills and resell them on the black market for profit, authorities claim.

Members of Werther’s office staff allegedly were in on the scheme and handled the money paid to him. Authorities claim that Stukes’ organization earned more than $5 million and dealt more than 200,000 pills illegally from September 2009 through July 2011.

In addition to filling prescriptions he knew to be bogus, Maaf laundered the money he received for his services, according to the court filing. The pharmacist allegedly structured his cash bank deposits to avoid federal reporting requirements.

He is charged with 119 counts of money laundering and 119 counts of structuring financial transactions, along with a single count of aggravated structuring financial transactions.

The U.S. government is seeking his forfeiture of $920,574, representing the amount of money he allegedly laundered.

Included in the list of defendants are Werther’s office staff, alleged drug runners and drivers, alleged bulk pill buyers and alleged “pseudo” patients. ••