One of the alleged leaders of an oxycodone drug ring that resulted in the arrest of 15 people this month is not the person federal investigators thought he was.
A man whom federal prosecutors identified as Luis Colon, 31, of Cliffside Park, N.J., is instead Andres Malave, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Drescher said during a hearing Tuesday before Magistrate John Conroy in Burlington.
We understand that there's a warrant for his arrest at Hampden Superior Court, Drescher told Conroy, referring to a county court in Massachusetts. He apparently fled during a jury trial there.
According to federal officials, Malave was on trial on drug-related charges at the Massachusetts court when he disappeared. He changed his name to Colon sometime afterward, and his true identity was discovered during a fingerprint check after he was arrested May 13 in Holyoke, Mass.
The man called Colon was listed in court papers as a primary supplier of oxycodone pills to Larry Bushey Jr., 29, of Burlington, whom federal agents said sold thousands of 80 milligram oxycodone pills in the Burlington area this year. The drug is a synthetic opiate with powerful addictive qualities when crushed and inhaled.
At Drescher's request, Conroy agreed to have Malave remain in federal custody while awaiting trial on a drug-conspiracy charge. Malave's lawyer, Allison Arms of the federal public defender's office, declined comment when asked about her client's case and identity issues.
Malave was one of five members of the oxycodone ring who appeared Tuesday before Conroy, either to be arraigned or to respond to requests by prosecutors to have them remain in custody pending the outcome of their cases.
Bushey was the last of the five to appear. His attorney, Mark Kaplan, told Conroy that Bushey is severely addicted to OxyContin, the commercial name for oxycodone. He asked the federal magistrate to allow Bushey to live at home under strict surveillance technology until he can enter a treatment center for his drug problem.
If he remains in jail ... he'll have far more opportunity to obtain drugs than if he is home under a 24-hour curfew, Kaplan said. He also said Bushey, a manager of the Yellow Cab taxi franchise in the city, is a lifelong Vermonter who is not a risk to flee the state.
Drescher said he opposed Bushey's release while awaiting entry to a treatment program.
He has been selling thousands of oxycodone pills under the nose of his family at his residence and his place of employment, Drescher said. He said the day Bushey was arrested, Bushey had 50 oxycodone pills at his home and $15,000 stuffed inside a toy belonging to his young son.
Conroy ordered Bushey to remain in federal custody until he can go into treatment. Bushey's fiancee and eight members of his family attended the hearing.
Larry Bushey Sr., Bushey's father and owner of the taxi company, appeared near tears at the end of the hearing. He declined comment.
BY SAM HEMINGWAY, FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER • WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.