Friday, November 24, 2017
Public safety

Friendly Pharmacy owner was trading oxycodone for sex, feds say

RECOMMENDED READING


NEW PORT RICHEY — Edward Beckles, the 59-year-old owner and operator of Ed's Family Friendly Pharmacy, is accused of being a bit too friendly with some of his customers — providing prescription pills to at least two drug rings and, allegedly, accepting sex as payment.

Criminals "knew they could go to that pharmacy and there would be no questions asked," said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.

Beckles, whose business is at 4158 Rowan Road in New Port Richey, has been the focus of an investigation by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone while acting outside the course of professional practice, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday.

If convicted, Beckles faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each charge, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Beckles, of Wesley Chapel, has no criminal history in Florida and his pharmacy license is clear and active, records state. His license was originally issued in 1995 but, authorities say, he began filing fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone beginning in 2009.

Nocco said Beckles filled the prescriptions for two drug rings that were buying pills in Pasco and shipping thousands of them to Tennessee and Kentucky, where they have a much higher street value. Since November, at least four dozen people accused of funneling the pills have been arrested on federal drug charges. At the center of one ring was the Humphrey family, led by Kathy Alvarez-Humphrey, 52, of Hudson, authorities said. The nearly three-year-long investigation into the rings began when a Pasco deputy found oxycodone pills in a car during a traffic stop and started searching to find out where the person had gotten the pills.

Nocco said that by Beckles accepting false prescriptions, "there is not much of a difference between what he was doing and somebody on a street corner."

Nocco said Beckles was said to have been accepting sex from patrons as payment for doling out pills, but he has not been charged with those accusations. Beckles was released from custody Monday on $50,000 bail and had to surrender his passport, authorities said. His wife, Angela Beckles, is listed as the vice president of their company, EB Drugs, Inc. The couple was not able to be reached Monday.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.

Comments

Three dead in wrong-way, head-on crash Thursday on I-75 in Gibstonton

Three people in their early 20s died Thursday when a car driving the wrong way on Interstate 75 slammed head-on into another car, killing both drivers and a passenger in the car that was struckThe accident happened about 10:30 p.m. just just south of...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Murky waters: Chartering the wrong boat can have tragic consequences

Murky waters: Chartering the wrong boat can have tragic consequences

Captain Dan Peretz noticed the same charter boats overloaded with passengers again and again. He thought, "This is how people die.’’ So he sent emails to the Coast Guard, sharing his concerns, naming specific boats, including the Jaguar....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature’s Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.The cause of the depression is unclear, but the intersection was blocked off to traffic.Hillsborough C...
Published: 11/23/17

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Published: 11/23/17

Lutz pedestrian dies in accident on U.S. 41

LUTZ — A man is dead after deputies said he walked into the path of a car on U.S. Route 41 Wednesday night.Charles Miller, 69 of Lutz, was walking east across the highway at 7:34 p.m., according to Florida Highway Patrol.Daniel Johnson, 35 and also o...
Published: 11/23/17

Hernando deputies make arrest after finding body of dead woman Wednesday

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 32-year-old man Wednesday who they say killed a woman.Joshua Carroll, 32, faces a charge of second-degree murder.Deputies found the body of the woman, who was not identified, at 15013 Old St...
Published: 11/22/17
Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

TAMPA — The mother of a 7-year-old girl stood weeping in a federal courtroom, demanding lifelong prison sentences for the Tampa couple who sexually assaulted her daughter while the girl’s own father took videos and pictures. "I don’t want my child to...
Published: 11/22/17
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Published: 11/22/17
Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

PORT RICHEY — Crews from Pasco County fire rescue were battling a fire Wednesday morning that sent smoke pouring through the roof at the Brass Flamingo adult club, 9034 U.S. 19.The fire forced the closing of U.S. 19 but traffic was flowing again by 6...
Published: 11/22/17