CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY – A Camden man today admitted conspiring to distribute and selling high-dose oxycodone pills in connection with his role in a drug trafficking ring, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Erick Bell, 48, pleaded guilty today by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb to an information charging him with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and distributing and possessing with intent to distribute quantities of oxycodone.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Bell admitted that on multiple occasions from January 2020 to March 2020, he worked with Rocco DePoder, 67, of Gloucester City, New Jersey, Alfred Kee Jr., 52, of Blackwood, New Jersey, and others to sell oxycodone in and around Camden and Gloucester City. For example, Bell admitted that on Feb. 3, 2020, he obtained 160 80 mg. oxycodone pills from Kee, and sold DePoder 60 of the pills for $25 each and 100 of the pills to Maurice Williams for $24 each. Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance – meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions, and abuse of the drug may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Both charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross loss or gain caused by the offenses, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for April 12, 2021.
Eight other defendants – DePoder; Kee; Marcus Rushworth, 47, and Kenneth Rushworth, 59, both of Gloucester City; Wayne Muse, 74, of Lindenwold, New Jersey; Robert Pratt, 57, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, formerly of Blackwood, New Jersey; Steven Walker, 47, and Alexander Siaca, 55, both of Camden – previously pleaded guilty before Judge Bumb to informations charging them with drug trafficking offenses involving the distribution of prescription drugs. They are awaiting sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of FBI Philadelphia Division, South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Gilbert L. Wilson; the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, under the direction of Director Jared M. Maples; the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Chief Joseph Wysocki; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
He also thanked the FBI Newark Division, New Jersey State Police, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gabriel J. Vidoni of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Camden Office and Sara F. Merin of the Newark Office.