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Prosecutors: Yonkers Pharmacy Worker Accused Of Illegally Selling Prescription Painkillers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A Yonkers pharmacy store manager has been arrested, accused of running an illegal prescription pain pill ring, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Ji Yun Lee is accused of filling prescriptions for oxycodone that he knew were fraudulent for people he knew were opiate addicts, according to prosecutors.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Lee "functioned as a 'go-to' prescription pill dispenser for those who were willing to pay his inflated prices."

Lee typically charged $1,075 for 180 30-milligram oxycodone pills, roughly $6 per pill, according to the criminal complaint against him.

Prosecutors: Yonkers Pharmacy Worker Accused Of Illegally Selling Prescription Painkillers

He was arrested for conspiring to distribute the narcotic oxycodone and for distribution of oxycodone, prosecutors said.

According to the criminal complaint, which was unsealed in Manhattan federal court, Lee was not a pharmacist but had access to the controlled substance.

Prosecutors noted the number of Americans who will die from prescription painkiller abuse this year will be greater than deaths from illegal street drugs like heroin and cocaine combined.

"Our society is in the throes of its own 'opiates war' and some pharmacies are serving more as pass-through 'opiate dens' than as legitimate professional dispensers of dangerous drugs," said Bharara.

Lee is accused of filling the fraudulent prescriptions for cash from 2011 through this month.

WEB EXTRA: Read The Complaint Against Lee (pdf)

According to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, which was involved in the investigation, the pharmacy Lee worked at dispensed more than twice as much oxycodone as any other pharmacy in the same zip code in 2012.

"As alleged, Ji Yun Lee took advantage of his position to allegedly accept and fill fraudulent prescriptions in exchange for money, just like a street dealer who puts lives at risk throughout our community," said DEA special agent-in-charge Brian R. Crowell.

If convicted, Lee faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.

He is due in court later Thursday.

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