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Small Barboursville pharmacy linked to drug trade

 

Herald-Dispatch photo by Sholten Singer Exterior photo of A+ Pharmacy on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, in Barboursville.
Herald-Dispatch photo by Sholten Singer
Exterior photo of A+ Pharmacy on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, in Barboursville.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A small, Barboursville-based pharmacy ordered more oxycodone than all but two pharmacies in West Virginia through August 2014, fueling a drug trade linked to at least five states, according to federal affidavits.

This week’s revelations come amid a federal investigation into A+ Care Pharmacy and its president/director, Kofi Ohene Agyekum.

The Ghana native is charged with structuring bank transactions to evade reporting requirements, one of several methods by which affidavits allege Agyekum tried to conceal his involvement in a wide-ranging drug operation.

Agyekum avoided paper trails, dealt only with cash transactions and eventually stopped reporting prescriptions he filled to the state’s Board of Pharmacy, affidavits allege. The latter strategy left nearly 332,000 oxycodone pills unaccounted when considering pills ordered versus filled prescriptions recorded by the state officials.

“The street value of these oxycodone pills are worth millions of dollars,” affidavits state.

Agyekum, who has not been charged with any drug-related crimes, remains detained without bond in Grayson, Kentucky.

Court filings implicate him in trying to conceal more than $800,000 in four area banks. He routinely asked tellers for their largest safety deposit boxes, including one in which authorities found $330,000 stacked in small bills. Affidavits suggest the financial structuring was part of a scheme to conceal proceeds from the alleged drug transactions.

Defense attorney David O. Schles did not respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday. He defended Agyekum and his client’s business last week, saying he had been presented no evidence of any illegal drug activity.

But one search warrant sought by Schles last week now links his client to drug trafficking organizations in Kentucky and Florida.

A+ Care opened in late 2012. The affidavits state its ordering of oxycodone steadily increased from 121,800 dosage units in 2013 to more than 328,000 units through Aug. 5, 2014. This year’s ranked it as the state’s third largest distributor of the drug.

David Potters, executive director of the state’s Board of Pharmacy, said Agyekum’s ex-wife voluntarily surrendered the pharmacy’s license Saturday. She was listed as the company’s pharmacist in charge, while her ex-husband was licensed as a pharmacy intern. Her decision came amid the federal investigation and the state board’s inquiry to several complaints facing the pharmacy. She has not been charged with any crimes in connection with the investigation.

Florida connection

The alleged Florida operation lasted from 2009 to June 2014. Affidavits state a Daytona, Florida, man and his live-in girlfriend worked with others to funnel prescriptions from Florida pain clinics and pharmacies to addicts in Lincoln County, West Virginia.

The dynamics of their operation switched in late 2012 and early 2013 with the opening of A+ Care at 3 Chateau Grove Lane. Affidavits state the couple began sending prescriptions from their Orlando, Florida, doctor to Barboursville because they “were easier to fill in West Virginia…

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