A Prince George's County man alleged to be the largest illegal supplier of the diet drug Preludin in the District of Columbia and 21 other persons were indicted yesterday in a massive scheme to sell the pills to drug addicts in Washington.
A federalg rand jury alleged that over the last 6 1/2 years Carl L. Cobby) Lynch of Hillcrest Heights recruited teams of men and women and sent them to six Eastern cities to buy the pink pills, as well as a pain killer know as Dilaudid, before reselling the pills at inflated prices in the District.
D.C. police said that Lynch, known variously as "The Pink Man," "Big Man," "Fat Man," and "Boss," netted from $3 to $8 a pill in thousands of transactions. At that rate, police said "the total amount realized by this conspiracy was likely in the millions of dollars."
According to the indictment and a close to the investigation, Lynch and his liutenant recruited 15 to 18 women, most of them poor and fat, to make the trips to New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Miami and Birmingham, Ala., to buy the pills.
The women often visited numerous doctors to get multiple drug prescriptions on week-long trips to the six cities. Sometimes they changed clothes and wore wigs so they could make office visits to the same doctors just hours apart, the source said.In addiiton, the source said, the women allegedly stole prescription pads from the doctor's offices and presented lists of from 20 to 500 names of fictitious patients to the doctors for whom prescriptions were written.
Two doctors, Gus Bashien of Forest Hills, N.Y., and Alfred Calfon of New York City, were charged in the indictment with writing a total of 4,000 Preludin and Dilaudid prescriptions for fictitious patients between May, 1975, and June, 1977, while a Philadelphia physician, Lee D. Hedson, was charged with writing 4,000 illegal prescriptions from June, 1974, to last December.
The other 18 people indicted in the case, including Lynch's wife, Myrtle M. (Sister) Lynch, a custodian at the FBI building here; his brother, Harry J. Lynch, and five cousins, were charged with various drug and conspiracy offenses. According to the indictment, they performed a variety of tasks in the scheme, including buying the drugs, transporting money to pay for the pills, and distributing the pills for resale in Washington.
None of the Washington drug users who bought the pills, nor any of the women recruited to get the prescriptions, was indicted, according to the source familiar with the two-year investigation. However, 62 men and women who played lesser roles in the conspiracy, including three with the nicknames "Tunafish," Itchy Bitchy" and "Delight," were named as unindicted conconspirators.
"The fat ladies will really sing in this case," the source said alluding to the motto of the Washington Bullets basketball team as they won the National Basketball Association championship last spring.
Police and the source close to the investigation said the Preludin investigation is continuing and that there may be more indictments in the case. Those may include even to 11 doctors in Philadelphia and New York who allegedly wrote the prescriptions for the phantom patients, the cources said.
By early last night, D.C. police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents had arrested 13 of the 22 indicted. Lynch a stocky man who already was in jail awaiting trial today on a kidnaping charge, appeared briefly before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas A. Flannery to plead innocent to the drug charges.
If convicted, the 36-year-old Lynch faces up to life imprisonment, while the others indicted could received sentences ranging from five to 10 years on each of the counts they were charged with. In all, Lynch was charged with 20 separate offenses, the most serious of which was an allegation that he engaged "in a continuing criminal enterprise" from which he obtained substantial income and resources."
Lynch, according to several sources familiar with the case, lived an extravagant live in recent years. According to one government presentation's in his kidnaping case, Lynch bought a new $14,000 Cadillac last year and then "paid almost $3,000 for special customizing work on this car including a special paint job to make the car the same color pink as preludin pills. . ."
Lynch, who also at times has worn a pink suit, frequently made cash down payments for purchases of cars and other vehicles and homes, according to the kidnaping case court record.
Investigators in the case, including D.C. police detective William Larman and Lt. William J. Merritt and assistant U.S. attorneys Peter O. Mueller and Charles J. Harkins Jr., sifted through more than 30,000 Preludin and Dilaudid prescriptions that had been written on the East Coast for the last several years. The doctor's names, the dates of the prescriptions and other bits of information were fed into a computer to determine overall patterns of the alleged offenses.
Preludin, when used property, acts as an appetite supressant and thus a potential weight reducer. But its effectiveness deteriorates after a couple of weeks as users develop a tolerance to the drug.
Heroin addicts, however, usually make the drug into a solution, which is then shot into blood veins in the addicts' arms, producing "a very excited kind of rush feeling," according to one doctor familiar with the drug.
Larman and Merritt said Preludin is second in popularity to heroin among Washington addicts because the heroin currently being sold on the streets is only about 1 to 3 percent pure.
Dilaudid is known on the street as "hospital heroin" because it legitimately is used after operations as a pain killer.