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Township Man Indicted In ‘Operation Busted Script’ Drug Ring Investigation

A 34-year-old Somerset man was one of eight people in the state indicted Aug. 16 and charged with running a “pill mill” that distributed “tens of thousands” of high-dose pills of oxycodone.

Donn Rush was indicted with six other people from Somerset, Middlesex and Burlington counties and a Warren-based doctor in what the state Attorney general’s Office has dubbed “Operation Busted Script.”

The indictment alleges that Rush and the other defendants operated a “pill mill” that distributed more than $1 million worth of oxycodone pills between January 2013 and December 2015.

According to a press release from the Attorney General’s office, Rush, John J. Burnham, 41, and Jared Burnham, 31, both of South Plainfield; Andrew Stoveken, 66, of Edison; George Sara, 37, of Bordertown; Marlena Burnham, 37, of Piscataway, N.J. and Jamar Mayers, 32, of Green Brook were indicted for 2nd Degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (oxycodone) and 2nd Degree distribution of oxycodone.

Dr. George Beecher, 75, of New Providence, was indicted for 1st Degree strict liability for a drug induced death, 2nd Degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (oxycodone), one count of 2nd Degree distribution of oxycodone and one count of 3rd Degree distribution of alprazolam (commonly known by brand name Xanax).

Authorities charge that Beecher wrote numerous prescriptions for Jason Stoveken – the son of Andrew Stoveken – including prescriptions for the oxycodone and Xanax pills that caused Stoveken’s overdose death in July 2013.

Authorities say that Rush “facilitated sales of pills into and out of the enterprise,” and was also responsible for recruiting co-conspirators to fill prescriptions.

uthoritie said John Turnham ran the enterprise and that Andrew Stoveken, who shared an office suite with Beecher, allegedly acted as a middleman between Turnham and Beecher.

“We allege that even after a young man died from narcotics that Dr. Beecher falsely prescribed, Beecher and the victim’s own father, defendant Andrew Stoveken, callously continued to profit by supplying tens of thousands of oxycodone pills to drug dealers,” Attorney General Porrino said in the release. “With our new strike team, we’re aggressively targeting the pill mills that are fueling opiate addiction and inflicting so much misery and death in our communities.”

Beecher, authorities said, allegedly wrote oxycodone and Xanax prescriptions for Jason Stoveken several days before he overdosed. Stoveken was found dead in a Hillsborough apartment on July 27, 2013.

The investigation showed that John Burnham allegedly coordinated the “pill mill” by ordering batches of prescriptions from Beecher through Andrew Stoveken, according to the release. The investigation showed that in a two-year period, Beecher allegedly wrote hundreds of prescriptions for 90 oxycodone 30mg pills in the names of more than two dozen people, involving tens of thousands of pills.

Turnham allegedly paid $500 for each prescription, according to the release. The prescriptions were then farmed out to the alleged co-conspirators, who filled them at various pharmacies, according to the release. The pills were sold on the street for $25 each.

Most of the defendants were initially arrested and charged in December 2015, according to the release.  Detectives executed a search warrant on Dec. 16 at Beecher’s medical office on Mount Boulevard Extension in Warren

The first-degree charge of strict liability for a drug-induced death carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, including a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, according to the release.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Attorney General’s Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team, a team of detectives and attorneys in the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau that targets corrupt healthcare professionals and “pill mills.”

 

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