Crime & Courts

Wichita pharmacist charged with drug conspiracy

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said Wednesday that a new Senate committee report shows that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency failed to hold major drug distributors accountable as prescription opioids poured into Missouri from 2012 to 2017. The agency says it's done a lot.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said Wednesday that a new Senate committee report shows that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency failed to hold major drug distributors accountable as prescription opioids poured into Missouri from 2012 to 2017. The agency says it's done a lot.

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a Wichita pharmacist with conspiring to illegally distribute nearly 5,000 Oxycodone tablets without a legitimate medical reason.

According to an information filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, Ebube Otuonye "did knowingly and intentionally conspire and agree together with coconspirators ... to distribute and dispense prescription drugs" including about 4,935 10-milligram pills of Oxycodone, a narcotic used to treat pain.

Dispensing the prescription medications happened "outside the usual course of professional medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose" from about July 1, 2014, to about Aug. 7, 2015, the information alleges.

Jim Cross, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Steven McAllister, said the criminal information filed Monday "is all there is in the public record at this time." The records don't say who Otuonye's alleged co-conspirators are or how many there might be.

They do say, however, that those people have not been indicted and are both "known and unknown to the grand jury."

Otuonye has been summoned to appear before Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale on Wednesday for an initial appearance, court records show. Phone and Facebook messages left for Otuonye on Monday afternoon were not immediately returned.

He did not have a defense attorney listed for him in court records.

There is a 45-year-old pharmacist named Ebube Otuonye listed as the owner of Neighborhood Pharmacy, 2251 E. 21st St. N., Ste. 121 near 21st and Grove in Wichita. A number for the pharmacy listed on its Facebook page rang to another Wichita business, Broadway Pharmacy. A woman who answered the phone there said Otuonye closed Neighborhood Pharmacy earlier this year and that Broadway Pharmacy had purchased all of the patient files a month or two ago. She did not know why the pharmacy shut down.

The address for Neighborhood Pharmacy is near 21st and Grove.

The Kansas Pharmacy Board shows Otuonye's pharmacist license is inactive, which means he can't practice in the state. His license was issued in 1998.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker
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