ELIZABETH – An Essex County man who worked at a facility in Elizabeth that manufactured oxycodone was arrested this morning for stealing more than 8,500 pills from the facility, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Edwin Hernandez, 48, of Irvington, was charged by complaint with possession and distribution of oxycodone. He was scheduled to make his initial court appearance later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.
According to the Complaint:
Hernandez was previously employed at a company identified as “Company 1,” one of the largest United States manufacturers of oxycodone, at the company’s Elizabeth facility. On Nov. 21, 2012, Hernandez was observed by another employee scooping large amounts of 30 mg oxycodone pills into a quart-sized plastic bag. A subsequent search of Hernandez’ locker by security, pursuant to corporate policy, revealed a backpack containing 8,591 30mg oxycodone pills. The street value of the stolen pills ranges from $170,000 to $250,000.
Oxycodone, also known as “oxy,” is a narcotic analgesic or painkiller and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. Demand for oxycodone-based prescription pain medication has grown to epidemic proportions in the United States, and dealers profit by selling such medication on the street. Oxycodone-based Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, and users will often crush and snort the pills or dissolve and inject them to get an immediate high. This abuse can lead to addiction and overdose, and, sometimes death.
Fishman credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert G. Koval, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel V. Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crime Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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