Feds raid Nashville warehouse distributing drugs illegally

When you fill a prescription, you trust the medicine inside is exactly what the doctor said you need.That's no...

Posted: Jul 27, 2018 2:45 PM
Updated: Jul 27, 2018 2:45 PM

When you fill a prescription, you trust the medicine inside is exactly what the doctor said you need.

That's not what happened to four tons of prescription pills that were processed in a Nashville warehouse.

The president of the company is going to prison for 15 years.

The video of the illegal drug operation at work helped send him to prison.

Pills were bought off the streets of New York and Miami and then resold to unsuspecting pharmacies for a huge profit.

"Every day they were operating they were generating a ridiculous amount of risk for the general public," said Henry Leventis, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Cumberland Distribution Inc. was, on paper, a licensed drug wholesaler. In reality, the drugs came from patients who sold their prescriptions.

"Most often they were purchased on the streets from Medicaid patients who had received the drugs for free," said Leventis.

The pills ended up at a Nashville warehouse where workers dumped out the boxes. Workers sorted and checked the bottles. Any patient labels were wiped off.

"Then they clean each bottle, often using lighter fluid," said Leventis.

The bottles were then resold to mom and pop drug stores across the country. That is until pharmacies called the Food and Drug Administration, and they raided the warehouse finding pill bottles with broken seals, foreign objects inside, one bottle of what was supposed to be Viagra was something else.

Psychiatric drugs, HIV drugs? Some contained the wrong dosages, the wrong meds entirely.

One bottle contained Tic Tacs. Prosecutors figure the patient who sold his prescription made the switch.

Cumberland Distribution got away with it for a while.

The U.S. Attorney's office said they faked paperwork and set up shell companies in empty offices.

"This was a deliberate attempt to bypass the safety net that we depend on when we buy drugs," said Donald Q. Cochran, U.S. Attorney, Middle District of Tennessee.

After the FDA raid, the business relocated.

"They got new warehouses, they used burner phones, they set up secret email accounts," said Leventis. "They even commissioned a private pilot to start flying drugs in from their shell companies."

Three key players plead guilty and a fourth was convicted after a trial. A key piece of evidence was the company's own internal surveillance video.

When asked what he thought after seeing the video, Leventis said, "I'm going to win this case."

"We trust the system and the system in this country works incredibly well when it's followed," said Cochran.

What happened to those patients who may have gotten the wrong drugs? Did they get sicker? Did they die?

Federal investigators weren't able to track that.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
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Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
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Miami321444
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Union6287
Ohio4907
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
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Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
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Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
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Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
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