Vancouver man indicted after 15-month investigation

By Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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A Vancouver man is among 21 people indicted by a federal grand jury as part of an investigation into a Portland business allegedly established as a front to trafficking in prescription opiates.

Leron Lamar Richards, 32, was charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

The 39-count indictment Thursday comes after a 15-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Oregon State Board of Nursing.

The Department of Justice says Oregon nurse practitioner Julie Ann Demille, 58, of Clackamas, Ore., and Osasuyi Kenneth Idomwonyi, 55, of Spring, Texas, worked together to provide oxycodone and hydrocodone prescriptions for a $200 cash fee to the other defendants, as the top part of a larger sales and distribution network.

At one point, Demille and Idomwonyi’s business, Fusion Wellness Clinic in Portland, prescribed opiates to about 400 customers, the Department of Justice said.

“Rogue pain clinics facilitate the destruction of lives through drug abuse, addiction and even death,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis said in a news release from the Department of Justice. “This is a national crisis as we are losing record numbers of Americans from prescription drugs, heroin, and fentanyl overdoses.”

The unlawful sale of hydrocodone and oxycodone carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.