Edison man allegedly involved in conspiracy to supply oxycodone

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    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a man who operated a hearing aid company was sentenced to state prison on Dec. 14 for conspiring with a doctor to supply a drug ring with high-dose pills of the opioid painkiller oxycodone.

    Seven members of the oxycodone distribution ring were indicted separately, which included a Bordentown resident, George Sara.

    Sara, 40, was sentenced to five years in state prison.  Officials said all seven members of the ring pleaded guilty to second-degree charges of conspiracy and distribution of oxycodone.

    According to the report from the Attorney General’s office, Sara purchased oxycodone in bulk to distribute. The report said the other ring members who pleaded guilty either have been sentenced to drug court probation or are awaiting determination of their drug court applications.

    State officials said an investigation revealed that in order to supply the drug ring, two men, Andrew Stoveken, 68, of Edison, and Dr. George Beecher, 78, of New Providence, wrote prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose for tens of thousands of 30mg oxycodone pills in the names of people he never examined, treated or met.

    The investigation also reported that Stoveken ran a hearing aid company and shared an office in Warren with Beecher, who was sentenced to prison earlier this month.

    Officials said Stoveken acted as a middleman between Beecher and the drug ring.

    The report said the ring would contact Stoveken to request that he arrange for Beecher to write oxycodone prescriptions in various co-conspirators’ names.

    Stoveken pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to second-degree charges of conspiracy and distribution of controlled dangerous substance and was sentenced to seven years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca Jr. in Middlesex County.

    Beecher, an ear, nose and throat specialist, was sentenced to 10 years in state prison by Judge Bucca on Dec. 3.

    Beecher pleaded guilty on Sept. 19 to second-degree charges of conspiracy and distribution of oxycodone. Officials said he permanently surrendered his medical license.

    “Stoveken profited by facilitating the illicit distribution of thousands of high-dose oxycodone pills,” Grewal said in the statement. “This prison sentence reflects our determination to stop the pill mills supplying the black market for opioid pain pills, which are starting so many users on the devastating and often deadly path of opioid addiction.”

    As the state’s persistent opioid epidemic remains at large, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice Veronica Allende said the investigation and charges brought upon this case are reflective of state official’s efforts going forward.

    “Our Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team will continue to target the doctors, pharmacists and other individuals who profit by illegally distributing prescription opioids,” Allende said in the statement. “This sentence sends a strong deterrent message to those who engage in this corrupt conduct.”

    The investigation that led to the charges, named “Operation Busted Script,” was headed by the Attorney General’s Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team, a team of detectives and attorneys in the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau that targets corrupt healthcare professionals.