Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Guilty Verdict in Scheme to Mail Prescription Pills from Florida to Kentucky
Press Release Date:
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
Attorney General Jack Conway and his Office of Special Prosecutions today announced the conviction of a Florida man and sentencing of two Hopkinsville, Ky. residents in connection with a scheme to mail large quantities of Oxycodone from Florida to Kentucky. A Christian County jury on April 3, 2012 found 27-year-old Peter Nibert of Pasco County, Fla. guilty on a charge of conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, first degree; Oxycodone. The jury deliberated for about 45 minutes following a two-day trial in Christian Circuit Court, before delivering the guilty verdict.
Meanwhile, Co-defendants, 24-year-old Cary Alder and 26-year-old Scotty Highsmith were sentenced to ten and 15 years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the pill trafficking scheme.
"The abuse of painkillers like Oxycodone and hydrocodone is fueling overdose deaths in Kentucky," General Conway said. "We’re losing more than 1,000 people a year to prescription drug overdoses. Because of the hard work of everyone involved in this case, we have put a stop to a scheme that was bringing thousands of illicit pills into the Commonwealth."
The jury heard evidence that Nibert had repeatedly mailed large quantities of oxycodone pills from Florida to Alder and Highsmith in Kentucky in 2010 via U.S. mail and Federal Express. It’s believed Nibert mailed more than 3,000 pills to Kentucky over the course of the conspiracy. The jury further heard evidence that the Kentucky defendants then sent cash and money orders back to Nibert after selling the drugs locally. Highsmith had deposited nearly $17,000 in a three-week period into Nibert’s bank account in payment for the drug shipments.
Prior to jury sentencing, Nibert pled guilty to being a persistent felony offender, and accepted an agreed sentence of 15 years, waiving all appeals. With the conviction, the sentencing range was no less than 10 and no more than 20 years. Nibert had previous felony convictions from Florida, and a previous conviction for a drug offense in Florida. Formal sentencing before the court is set in Christian Circuit Court for August 1, 2012.
Christian Circuit Judge Andrew Self sentenced Alder to 10 years in prison for pleading guilty to multiple counts of trafficking in a controlled substance. Highsmith was sentenced to 15 years for pleading guilty to conspiracy to trafficking in a controlled substance, multiple counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, five counts of wanton endangerment, first degree, and for being a persistent felony offender, first degree. Highsmith will not be eligible for parole for a minimum of 10 years.
The indictment and convictions are the result of an ongoing investigation conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with the Pasco County, Florida Sheriff’s office. Prosecutors in General Conway’s Office of Special Prosecutions handled the prosecution of this case at the request of, and in cooperation with, Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor.
Attorney General Conway is increasing investigations into the illegal trafficking of prescription pills in Kentucky through his statewide Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force. The task force, a key participant in the largest prescription drug bust in Kentucky history, is also cracking down on overprescribing physicians, doctor shopping and illegal out-of-state pharmacies.
In addition to his investigative efforts, Attorney General Conway has joined with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet and its Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation UNITE and concerned parents to launch a statewide prescription drug abuse education and prevention initiative. The Keep Kentucky Kids Safe initiative includes school presentations, an annual student video PSA competition and informational website to alert Kentucky middle and high school students to the dangers of using prescription drugs for recreational purposes.