At night, he was dealing oxycodone and oxymorphone — so much that federal agents found about 11,000 of the pills in his North Haven home during a Jan. 23, 2014, raid.
Documents filed in federal court claim Earl’s stash was obtained through legal prescriptions provided to his wife, Pia Taylor, who suffers from sickle cell anemia.
During December 2013, valid prescriptions were filled at pharmacies for: 600 oxycodone 30 mg tablets; 270 Oxycontin 80 mg tablets; 300 oxycodone 10 mg tablets and 1,200 oxymorphone 10 mg tablets, according to court documents.
“This is outrageous,” said state Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport. “Where were the checks and balances — from the doctors to the pharmacies to the insurance companies?”
Moore said she intends to bring this case to the attention of the Legislature’s Public Health Committee, of which she is a member, on Wednesday morning.
“There should have been some light bulbs going off,” Moore said. “How many pills can one person take in a month?”
On the street, these narcotic painkillers sell for $1 per milligram, investigators said.
“This defendant’s conduct is all the more egregious because as a counselor at the state Department of Mental Health, he was well aware of the devastation his trafficking would cause,” said U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly.”
Earl, 40, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to conspiring with James Costanzo, an accused Ansonia oxycodone and oxymorphone dealer, to possess and distribute the narcotic painkillers. He is free on bond pending a May 12 sentencing date with Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton. Federal sentencing guidelines recommend he receive a prison term ranging from 37 to 46 months and a fine of up to $1 million.
“The No. 1 addiction in the country is narcotic painkillers,” said Vince Riccio, a retired New Haven police sergeant. “That’s because they are much safer than buying heroin on the street. The quality assurance is there. But that also makes them more expensive.”
State Rep. Jason Perillo, R-Shelton, who is a licensed emergency medical technician and also sits on the Legislature’s Public Health Committee, said one of the problems is “physicians overprescribe” drugs.
“I would imagine, in this case, the pharmacy filled what the doctors prescribed,” Perillo said. “I don’t think its the Legislature’s job to tell physicians how to practice. I would think physician groups would police themselves.”
But Riccio said a call to police from the pharmacies was warranted.
“That number of pills is way beyond the normal daily intake,” he said.
Costanzo, Earl’s co-defendant, has pleaded not guilty to nine federal charges and is awaiting jury selection March 9 for his trial before Eginton. His lawyer, Donald Cretella, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David X. Sullivan told U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons during Earl’s guilty plea Tuesday that the former counselor agreed to forfeit $3,715 from his Connex Credit Union account and another $4,806 from a Bank of America account.
Additionally, Mary Kate Mason, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, told Hearst Connecticut Media that Earl has been fired from the state job he held for 16 years.
Sullivan said the day before agents seized the 11,000 pills from Earl’s home, the counselor sold another 200 painkillers to Costanzo at $13 each. Agents seized $2,557 from Earl on the day of the raid.
Court documents claim Earl admitted that money came from his deal with Costanzo.
It was in December 2013 that a parent reported Earl to Fairfield police. The parent claimed his child was selling oxycodone and Opana (a brand of oxymorphone) tablets for the counselor.
The child admitted to delivering 300 oxycodone 30 mg tablets and 150 Opanas every three to four days to Costanzo, according to court documents. Costanzo paid $15 for every Opana and $19 for each oxycodone 30 mg tablet, the documents allege.
During their investigation, Fairfield police obtained a court order to place a GPS unit onto Earl’s 2010 BMW 750i. They tracked his car to one of Costanzo’s homes.
Investigators also began looking into Earl’s financial records.
They determined he spent $68,260 between June and September 2013 while earning just $58,684 that year.
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Bridgeport addiction counselor admits dealing oxycodone – CT Post