A Montgomery County doctor at the center of an alleged illegal prescription drug distribution ring has now been charged in the death of one of those involved in the scheme.
Federal prosecutors accused Dr. Norman Werther, 71, of Horsham, of conspiring with six separate groups of drug dealers to illegally distribute prescription painkillers from February 2009 until August 2011. They said Werther prescribed 180 pills containing oxycodone to one person involved in the scheme, resulting in their death.
In August 2011, prosecutors charged Werther and 51 co-defendants in connection with the illegal distribution. Nine new defendants were charged Friday in the latest indictment. Some of them allegedly helped recruit "patients" who would pay to visit Werther at his Willow Grove office, receive bogus prescriptions and turn them over to their drug organizations, which would then re-sell them.
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According to the latest indictment, Werther knew about the investigation and warned his office staff in a memo written by his wife, which read in part, "We don’t want the government reviewing us. The DEA checks on physicians dispensing narcotics. Dr. could lose his license. He has sent away more than 100 people in the last few weeks."
The new defendants are Troy Brinkley, 44; Edward Jackson, 49; Edward Dominick, Sr., 53; Frederick Kelsey, 51; Kyle Jones, 30; Ali Armstead, 31; Terrell Jackson, 27; Bernard Jackson, 33; and Ronald Campbell, 35, all of Philadelphia.
During the conspiracy, Werther prescribed more than 700,000 pills containing oxycodone, prosecutors said. Werther pleaded not guilty to a drug trafficking charge and was released.
If convicted of all charges, Werther faces a mandatory 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.