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May 6, 2008
Pharmacist, 73, Providence man, 81, face drug charges
PROVIDENCE -- Two elderly men, including an owner of Prime Drug, were charged in federal court today with multiple counts alleging that they illegally distributed pain killers and expensive HIV drugs from the pharmacy on Cranston Street in the city’s West End.
Carmine DeTomasis, 73, a licensed pharmacist and co-owner of the pharmacy at 613 Cranston St., and Louis Romanelli, 81, of Victoria Street, in Providence, were each charged with distribution of controlled substances, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and distributing misbranded drugs.
Adi Goldstein, an assistant U.S. Attorney, said that an undercover agent from the federal Food and Drug Administration sold Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and drugs to combat HIV to Romanelli on several occasions over the past year. In turn, she said, Romanelli sold the drugs to DeTomasis, who peddled them to his customers.
Goldstein told the court that the HIV drugs alone were sold to Romanelli for $16,000. The meetings between Romanelli and the undercover agent were recorded on video and audiotape, she said.
The state police arrested Romanelli on similar charges last November. He is awaiting trial on those felony counts.
U.S. District Court Magistrate ordered Romanelli to have an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle as he awaits trial on the new federal charges. He also said that no one other than his wife and children are allowed to visit his home. Goldstein expressed concern that Romanelli ran an illegal drug operation out of his home and several of the people named in the sealed indictment could continue to visit him.
Bail for DeTomasis was set at $150,000 with surety, meaning that he must post $15,000 to gain his release. His lawyer, James Howe, told the court that the state Department of Health had shut down Prime Drug and it had revoked DeTomasis’s pharmacy license.
-- Journal staff writer W. Zachary Malinowski
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:44 PM | Permalink
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