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Cliffside man gets 2 years in $2 million AIDS drug ring

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Cliffside Park man was sentenced today to two years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to illegally sell more than $2 million worth of prescription drugs, most of which are used for the treatment of HIV.

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 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.

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, 39, pleaded out, as well, and today was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton.

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.

Handling the cases is Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacob T. Elberg and Jacques S. Pierre of the United States Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit.

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