Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll’s long summer continues. On the heels of allegations of an affair with a female staffer and controversy over her statement that women who look like her aren’t lesbians (for which she later apologized), now her brother-in-law has been accused of operating a pill mill.
According to the U.S. attorney for the middle district of Florida, Edward Benjamin Alister Beckles, 59 and married to Carroll’s sister, is charged with one count of “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute” the painkiller Oxycodone, and one count of “possession with intent to distribute Oxycodone while acting outside the course of professional practice.” If convicted on both federal counts, he faces up to 20 years in prison on each charge.
According to the Associated Press, Beckles is accused of filling fraudulent Oxycodone prescriptions for a Pasco County, Florida drug ring involving 17 people. Those involved allegedly filled the prescriptions at Beckles’ Ed’s Family Friendly Pharmacy in New Port Richey, between August 2009 and January of this year. All 17 of those who presented the prescriptions to Beckles’ pharmacy were indicted earlier this month on conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute Oxycodone. The pharmacy was raided on July 13th by federal agents and state law enforcement officers, following a two-year investigation dubbed “Operation Tennessee Blues,” reportedly because the drugs were intended for sale in Tennessee.
The DEA and Pasco County Sheriff’s offices are reportedly investigating the alleged pill mill.
Florida has long been considered the epicenter of national “pill mill” operations, where bulk prescriptions for powerful over-the-counter drugs are filled at pharmacies, with the intent to export or distribute the drugs on the black market. Florida law enforcement officials and the state’s attorney general have made shutting down “pill mill” operations a priority over the last two years.
Beckles is currently free on $50,000 bond.
Carroll was “not familiar with Mr. Beckles’ arrest or his business practices and she has never visited his pharmacy,” a press statement issued by the lieutenant governor’s office stated on Tuesday. “She is surprised and saddened that this has happened to her sister’s family.”
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