US Authorities Jail Leader of a Prescription Drug Ring

The leader of a prescription forgery ring was sentenced Friday to more than six years in prison for falsifying medical prescriptions and selling hundreds of thousands of painkillers, the US Department of Justice announced.

medical-563427 1920Medical Prescription (Photo: DarkoStojanovic, CC0)

Anthony Ballenger stole medical professionals’ identities to tamper with prescriptions and buy large amounts of oxycodone pills in pharmacies throughout western Washington, the statement said.

He hacked online databases and replaced medical professionals’ contact information with his own information to redirect pharmacies’ inquiries to him.

He then resold the illegally obtained pills in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

"This defendant is responsible for thousands of dangerous pills ending up in the wrong hands," said US Attorney Annette L. Hayes.

Ballenger pleaded guilty to orchestrating this sophisticated forgery scheme in March. After serving his six years, he will have to report to a probation officer for the next five years.

One of his accomplices is to be tried next month and two are currently participating in the Drug Reentry Alternative Model (DREAM) – aalternativepunishment that focuses on drug treatment and is granted to those who plead guilty.

Another suspect is still on the run.