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Former Brighton pharmacist named with 14 others in indictment, accused of operating oxycodone ring

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By The Staff

BRIGHTON — The former owner of Platte Valley Family Pharmacy is among 15 people named in an indictment Jan. 17 accused of taking part in a drug trafficking ring that operated across the Denver metro area and in Oklahoma.

According to Colorado Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler, Jeffrey Clawson, 52, is named as part of a group accused of “fradulently acquiring, diverting and distributing large amounts of oxycodone” in Colorado and Oklahoma.

The indictment alleges Robin Steinke, 45, began a scheme to illegally acquire the Schedule II drug back in July 2010. Clawson is alleged to have collaborated with Steinke to “divert large quantities of oxycodone for sale on the black market.”

In the release on the indictment, Tyler said Steinke “directed” a group of associates — posing as “patients” — to sell the drug at the inflated price of 50 cents per milligram — about $15 for one 30-milligram dose.

According to Adams County Jail records, Clawson was booked Jan. 15 and is held on a $100,000 cash bond while awaiting an 8:30 a.m. court hearing Jan. 28. Steinke was booked Jan. 14 and is held on a $500,000 bond while also set for a Jan. 28 hearing.

In addition to Steinke and Clawson, the Attorney General’s Office named 13 other individuals in the 43-count indictment: Celeste Deherrera, 46; Leticia Deherrera, 24 years; Christopher Peterson, 39; Christopher Gemeinhardt, 22; Shawna Lawley, 30; Joel Barr, 32; Jacqueline Geist, 25; Andrew Guerrero, 22; Lisa Teitelbaum, 44; Rhonda Scott, 52; Sadie Grubbs, 24; Daniel Burke, 30; and Laurie Ann Larrew, 46.

In July 2012, Platte Valley Family Pharmacy was sold to a new corporation.

“Crimes around prescription drugs are on the rise in Colorado and nationwide, and we are seeing a proliferation of fraudulent schemes to obtain and divert oxycodone which is highly-addictive,” said Attorney General John Suthers in a release about the indictment. “Thanks to a coordinated effort between the medical, pharmacy, mental health, and law enforcement communities, we’ve dismantled a prescription-drug trafficking ring.”

Barbra M. Roach, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Denver Field Division, said law enforcement are “aggressively” going after prescription drug abuse in Colorado.

“If pharmacists and other medical professionals abuse their position and illegally divert oxycodone and other prescription drugs, they will be investigated and prosecuted just like any other drug trafficker,” Roach said.

In addition to the DEA and Attorney General’s Office, a number of local law enforcement groups aided in the investigation: The South Metro Drug Task Force, the North Metro Drug Task Force, Broomfield Police Department, Denver Police Department, Greenwood Village Police Department, Parker Police Department, Sheridan Police Department and Thornton Police Department, as well as the Carter County Oklahoma District Attorney’s Office.

The Adams County District Attorney's Office is working with the Colorado Attorney General's office to prosecute the cases in Adams County District Court.