OCEAN CITY- A New Jersey man, taken down in February 2009 by Ocean City Police as the kingpin of a major illegal prescription distribution network covering three states, was sentenced this week in federal court to over six years in jail.
Joseph Bimonte, 45, of Freehold, N.J. last year pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, also known as Oxycontin, Roxicodone and Percocet, to street-level dealers working in Ocean City for over a year from May 2007 to August 2008. On Wednesday in federal court, U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg sentenced Bimonte to 78 months, or about six-and-a-half years, in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
OCPD detectives initiated the investigation, which began in April 2007, after they learned large quantities of oxycodone pills, in the form of oxycontin, roxicodone and percocet, were being distributed in the Ocean City area. OCPD detectives enlisted the help of federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials after learning the scope of the investigation reached far beyond Ocean City’s jurisdiction.
Throughout the investigation, an OCPD undercover narcotics detective was able to make 14 individual hand-to-hand purchases for more than 600 oxycodone pills from the suspects in the case including nine from the alleged kingpin in the drug distribution ring, identified as Bimonte.
According to the plea agreement reached last year, Bimonte sold large amounts of oxycodone to the OCPD detective on nine different occasions from July 19, 2007 to April 26, 2008. In total, from May 2007 to August 2008, Bimonte sold tens of thousands of milligrams of oxycodone to undercover narcotics detectives, or roughly the equivalent of 400 to 700 kilograms of marijuana, according to federal prosecutors.
On July 19, 2007, the undercover officer received an unsolicited telephone call from Bimonte during which the kingpin agreed to supply the detective with additional pills. Later that evening, Bimonte sold 10 oxycontin pills to the detective for $250 and the next day offered to supply him with as many as 200 pills for $30 each. According to the plea agreement, Bimonte offered to front-fund the purchase, telling the undercover agent “dealing drugs was about making money, not getting high.”
OCPD detectives, with the cooperation of the DEA and law enforcement agencies in other jurisdictions including Delaware and New Jersey, began to build a case against Bimonte and his co-conspirators in the drug ring. On Aug. 29, 2008, the federal grand jury for the District of Maryland handed down a 12-count indictment charging Bimonte with conspiracy to distribute and distribution of oxycodone.