Suspected Florida-Columbus Pain Pill Ring Stopped

UPDATED: Friday July 15, 2011 7:51 PM

A Franklin County grand jury indicted two men on Thursday in connection with a multi-state operation involving the transportation of pain pills.

Shawn Forsythe and Matthew Hughes, both 30, were charged with numerous offenses, including drug trafficking.  The state charged both men with RICO charges, accusing them of engaging in organized crime, 10TV's Maureen Kocot reported.  

According to prosecutors, Forsythe and Hughes recruited "patients" to travel from Columbus to Jacksonville, Fla., to visit a pain clinic. 

Undercover narcotics officers documented at least 12 visits and said that each time the "patient" would return with 1,000 to 3,000 prescription pills.

The pills were mostly oxycodone and xanax and were sold on Columbus streets, Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien said.

He said that the crime was lucrative, estimating that Forsythe and Hughes made tens of thousands of dollars on the black market before they were caught.

"Of the problems I've seen here in Franklin County, heroin is the most serious problem, followed by prescription drugs," O'Brien said.

According to O'Brien, it is easier to obtain prescription pills in Florida than Ohio. 

"I think unfortunately any time you put someone in jail for engaging in this kind of conduct, it seems someone is more than willing to step into their shoes and try to do the same thing," O'Brien said.

If Forsythe and Hughes are convicted on all charges, they each face a maximum punishment of 20-years behind bars, Kocot reported.

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