EXCLUSIVE: Four members of a large-scale prescription fraud ring were in the middle of a series of buys at a local pharmacy when Rochelle Park detectives moved in and snatched them up, authorities told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.
Detective Jim DePreta said he and fellow investigator Chris Bermudez spotted the four while passing area pharmacies on the lookout for suspicious people.
“They were parked in the CVS lot, but they were walking back and forth on Rochelle Avenue,” DePreta told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
One of them had already filled a prescription for a three-month supply of Oxycontin when another entered the pharmacy, the detective said. “They basically exchanged places,” he said.
The pharmacist, suspecting fraud, declined to fill the second script. The detectives then grabbed the would-be customer, 35-year-old Lamont Dean of Garfield (above: middle), on his way out the door.
Moments later, DePreta, Bermudez and four uniformed officers converged on the other three in the CVS lot.
One of those arrested, Kinner Harris, 43, of Elizabeth (above, left), “was the mastermind of the group,” DePreta said.
Harris already is facing charges out of Union County for distributing heroin and prescription pills. He apparently moved his operation north, the detective said.
Harris “provided the scripts and the others provided the manpower,” he said. He sat in one vehicle in the lot, communicating via cellphone with Blerim Krasniqi, 35, of Garfield (above, top), who was in the other car with the “runners,” DePreta said.
The runners’ job was to fill the prescriptions and give them to Krasniqi in exchange for a couple hundred dollars, he said.
DePreta said he then passed them to Harris, who sold the drugs for $10-$20 a pill – which could fetch upwards of $2,400 for a 120-day supply.
The prescriptions themselves had genuine physicians’ names on them, but the listed call numbers came back to pre-paid phones, DePreta said.
“It was a pretty sophisticated operation,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
Harris was charged with leading organized crime. DePreta said he was also carrying six small bags of heroin during the arrest, for which he was also charged. He was being held on $50,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail — with detainers from Union County and East Orange on charges he faces in those jurisdictions.
The others were released on summonses to appear in Municipal Court on offenses that will be sent to the county prosecutor’s office:
Krasniqi was charged with conspiring to commit prescription fraud and financial facilitation of a crime.
Dean was charged with attempting to obtain a prescription by fraud, and illegal possession of a prescription drug.
The fourth man, 29-year-old David Buczek of Passaic (above: bottom), was charged with obtaining a prescription by fraud and two counts of illegally possessing it.
MUGSHOTS: Courtesy ROCHELLE PARK PD