A Pasco County pharmacist indicted on charges he was filling fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions for members of a drug ring is the brother-in-law of Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
Edward Benjamin Alister Beckles, 59, who owns Ed's Family Friendly Pharmacy in New Port Richey, is charged with one count of conspiracy to possess oxycodone with intent to distribute and one count of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute while acting outside the course of professional practice.
He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each of the two charges against him.
The governor's office issued a written statement saying Carroll "is not familiar with Mr. Beckles' arrest or his business practices and she has never visited his pharmacy."
"She is surprised and saddened this has happened to her sister's family," the statement said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa announced Beckles' indictment Monday. The indictment resulted from a joint investigation by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which alleged that from August 2009 to January 2012 Beckles knowingly filled the fraudulent prescriptions.
In some cases, Beckles would fill two oxycodone prescriptions at once for the same person, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
"He was outside the norm of practicing pharmacists," Nocco said.
Earlier this month, 17 people in Pasco were arrested on charges of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute, and it is those people Beckles was filling prescriptions for, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported.
"All these people connected knew they could go to that pharmacist and there would be no questions asked," Nocco said.
The case is still under investigation by DEA and the sheriff's office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez.
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