- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say the owner of a northern New Jersey pharmacy and 15 other people have been charged for their alleged roles in a scheme to fraudulently obtain and distribute oxycodone.

Those charged Wednesday included 42-year-old Victoria Horvath of Elizabeth, who prosecutors say was a “senior member” of the drug trafficking ring, and 77-year-old Vincent Cozzarelli of Belleville, who owns a pharmacy in that Essex County town.

Prosecutors say Cozzarelli supplied Horvath and other ring members with oxycodone and other drugs, even though he knew the prescriptions they received from various doctors had been “fraudulently obtained” and that the drugs would be illegally sold for profit.

All 16 defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute oxycodone. Each defendant could face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

Federal agents arrested 12 of the defendants on Wednesday, while two others had been taken into custody on Tuesday. Those 14 defendants were due to make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Newark on Wednesday afternoon.

Two other defendants remained at large Wednesday afternoon.

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