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Bergen man admits role in selling $2 million in AIDS drug and other meds

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

A Fairview man today admitted his role in a conspiracy to peddle more than $2 million worth of prescription drugs, most used to treat AIDS — a case broken by local police.

Nearly a year ago, a Fairview officer responding to a neighbor’s call of a noxious odor found Edison Rosario, 25, and several other people in a leased basement apartment on Edgewater Road (building at left) using lighter fluid to remove labels from bottles of prescription medication, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. A search turned up thousands of bottles, he said.

Fairview police said they also found area distribution lists for moving the drugs.

“All of the windows to the apartment were covered with either plastic bags or taped window shades to hinder any view from outside. The apartment was furnished primarily with folding tables and folding chairs,” Fishman said, in a news release. “Numerous bags and suitcases filled with prescription medication were found throughout the apartment.

“An open closet held floor-to-ceiling bags of the medication.”

The majority of prescription bottles found in the apartment contained a variety of medications used to treat HIV – in particular, Atripla, Combivir, Isentress, Kaletra, Prezista, Reyataz, and Truvada, Fishman said.

Rosario admitted that the prescriptions were to be distributed across the country once the labels were removed and the bottles were clean.

Rosario is being held without bail until sentencing, set for May 23. Charges against two of his alleged accomplices — Manuel Gonzalez, 38, of Cliffside Park, N.J., and Jose Batista, 24, of New York — are still pending.

Fishman credited special agents of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, and both the Cliffside Park and Fairview police departments.

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