Ex-Councilman, Pharmacist Indicted On Drug Charges
Dr. Vincent Esposito allegedly conspired with local pharmacist to distribute painkillers, according to the Attorney General's Office.
A former Madison councilman who ran a medical practice on Main Street was indicted Friday on charges of selling painkiller prescriptions, the Attorney General's Office announced.
Dr. Vincent Esposito, 55, and pharmacist Srinivasa Raju, 41, of Clifton, allegedly conspired to sell OxyContin prescriptions and have them filled at Bottle Hill Pharmacy, where Raju worked.
The second-degree conspiracy and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance indictment was handed up by a state grand jury in Mercer County. The case was assigned to Morris County.
Esposito was charged last February and Raju was charged in March after a yearlong investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
Esposito was arrested Feb. 16, and Raju was arrested on March 6. Bottle Hill Pharmacy was acquired by Walgreens in December and closed.
Esposito, who has denied the charges, was a member of the Madison Borough Council at the time of his arrest and served the remainder of his term, which ended in December. He has agreed to temporarily surrender his medical license pending the disposition of the case.
Authorities allege Esposito allegedly prescribed OxyContin and other forms of oxycodone to people he did not treat or examine and, in some cases, never saw at all, including undercover law enforcement informants.
"It is further alleged that Esposito at times would write prescriptions after the fact to cover quantities of oxycodone that were dispensed by Raju without a prescription," according to the news release.
Esposito and Raja are each free on $75,000 bail.
“It is appalling that a small-town doctor who was also a local councilman would allegedly conspire in the illicit distribution of these dangerous, highly addictive painkillers,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. “We allege that he turned his physician’s oath to do no harm on its head and made a mockery of his pledge to serve the community.”
Elie Honig, deputy director of the Division of Criminal Justice, said the case "illustrates how licensed professionals are becoming involved in this dark trade."
Chiesa commended the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for their investigation and thanked Madison police and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.
Under New Jersey law, second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.