On September 13, 2011, a Westchester County Police Officer was charged along with several Transportation Security Agency officers, a Florida State trooper and several couriers in a drug smuggling conspiracy involving the distribution and sale of Oxycodone (OxyContin) from Florida to Connecticut. The Westchester County Police Officer, Michael T. Brady, 36, is alleged to have been given bribes of more than $20,000 over a several month period to permit the controlled substance deliveries to move through security at the Westchester County airport without detection by authorities.
Also charged in the scheme were two TSA officers from Palm Beach Florida, Christopher Allen and John Best, T.S.A. Officer Brigitte Jones, stationed at Westchester Airport, Florida State trooper Justin Kolves, two Westchester livery drivers, Sami Naber and Manny Babe, and three couriers who transported the drugs and cash proceeds between Florida and Connecticut. The basic allegations are that the TSA officers, along with Brady, made sure that the Oxycodone shipments and cash would avoid standard airport security. On one occasion, it is alleged that Officer Brady intervened and prevented further questioning from airport security when one of the couriers was being interviewed about his possession of almost $100,000 in cash.
The investigation was known as “Operation Blue Coast”, and began in April of this year when a courier was arrested by the federal DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) officers in Bridgeport with 6,000 Oxycodone pills, and admitted to agents that he would make several trips a week between Florida and Connecticut carrying thousands of pills each time. The courier began cooperating with the DEA, which was supplemented by surveillance and undercover officers to assist in the operation.
Officer Brady was arrested on September 13, 2011 and was released on $750,000 bond after a hearing before a U.S. Magistrate judge in Florida. On September 19, 2011, Mr. Brady appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport, who allowed him to remain out on bond with the added requirement that he must wear an electronic monitoring device. If convicted of the federal charges of conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison and a one million dollar fine.
According to studies conducted by the federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, prescription drugs such as Oxycodone (OxyContin), Hydrocodone (Vicodin), meperidine (Demerol), pentobarbital (Nembutal), diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) are second to marijuana in first time abuse by teenagers and adults in 2010. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that Oxycodone was responsible for 176,000 emergency room visits in 2009. Apparently, synthetic opiates such as Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are in the same class of drugs as heroin and provide a similar high and “euphoria” to abusers.
In June 2011, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated that he was behind a bill to create an online database to record the prescription and provision of controlled substances including Oxycodone. The bill would assist in limiting overprescribing and locate traffickers with multiple prescriptions. According to Schneiderman, the amount of Oxycodone prescriptions in Westchester went up 31% between 2008 to 2010. Federal authorities maintain that Florida prescribes ten times more Oxycodone pills than all other U.S. states combined, and individual pills sell from $10.00 to $40.00 per pill on the illegal market.
Contact The Westchester County Criminal Defense Lawyers online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or traffic infraction for a free initial consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the charges against you, your rights and legal options.