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Bergen man sentenced to 30 months in $2 million AIDS drug ring

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : A Fairview man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a ring that peddled more than $2 million worth of prescription drugs, most used to treat AIDS.

Operation was in the basement

A Fairview officer responding to a call of a strange odor coming from Edison Rosario’s basement apartment on Edgewater Road (left) in March 2010 found him and several other people using lighter fluid to remove labels from bottles of prescription medication.

A search turned up thousands of bottles, authorities said. Most contained a variety of medications used to treat HIV – in particular, Atripla, Combivir, Isentress, Kaletra, Prezista, Reyataz, and Truvada, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman 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,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. “Numerous bags and suitcases filled with prescription medication were found throughout the apartment.

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

Rosario, 25, later admitted in court that the prescriptions were to be distributed across the country once the labels were removed and the bottles were clean.

Co-defendant Rudy Manuel Gonzalez, 38, of Cliffside Park, N.J., is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty, as well. The same for Jose Batista, 24, of New York.

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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