|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - February 3,2008 - February 10, 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Jury finds Onalaska man, 80, guilty Wednesday on three counts of prescription drug delivery
Polk County Enterprise - February 2008
LIVINGSTON —Narcotics officers took the stand Tuesday in the trial of Albert John Minovich, 80, of Onalaska, on three charges of possessing and selling prescription drugs. Jurors found him guilty on all counts after a short deliberation in Judge Elizabeth Coker’s 258th District Court.
Lt. Andy Lowrie described one search and seizure at Minovich’s residence in the Canyon Park subdivision near Onalaska to jurors.
Officers found 1,149 hydrocodone pills, 769 Xanax (Alprazolam), 2,320 Soma (Carisoprodol) and 98 other pills including Viagra (Sildenafil), Lowrie said.
An earlier seizure included 1,565 prescription pills, according to Polk County Assistant District Attorney Joe Martin.
Narcotics officers also captured two drug transactions on audio recordings with a confidential informant.
Officers recorded the serial numbers of $50 in cash which was given to the informant to buy 20 hydrocodone tablets.
Lowrie was in an adjacent room while a transmitter device broadcast the conversation between Minovich and the informant to a recording device. Additional officers waiting nearby in marked patrol units.
Minovich could be heard suggesting that the informant could resell the hydrocodone for $3 and he was selling them to her for only $2.50.
The informant replied they were too afraid of being caught and the two discussed another area resident who had provided information to officers that got the informant arrested and property seized.
They also describe how Minovich would go to three Houston doctors located adjacent to each other where you could quickly get a prescription and have it filled.
These “cash doctors,” as Lowrie labeled them, conduct no patient exams and are under scrutiny from Federal Drug Enforcement Agency officers.
“They pay $75 or $80 and hand the doctor a list of what kind of prescription you want. Then you leave the office, after paying cash, and go next door and pay cash for the prescription,” Lowrie said.
Minovich also described on the audio recording how he hides much of his stock in a safe deposit box at a Houston bank so he doesn’t get in caught possessing the pills.
Lowrie added that after Minovich left the informant’s house, he collected his equipment and the pills from the informant and Deputy Rob Atkins recovered the buy money from Minovich during a traffic stop.
The same $50 was found in his wallet with other U.S. currency, Lowrie said.
The tape of a second transaction between Minovich and the informant was also played for jurors.
Sentencing is set for April 1 in the 258th District Court.