New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Acting Morris County Prosecutor, Roxbury Police Announce Arrest of Dentist Accused of Dispensing Addictive Painkillers
Dr. Ronald M. Jupiter
NEWARK – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today joined with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, and the Roxbury Police Department, to announce the arrest of a Morris County dentist accused of illegally prescribing and dispensing Percocet, a Controlled Dangerous Substance and an addictive painkiller.
Roxbury police arrested Dr. Ronald M. Jupiter, 62, at a hotel Thursday, April 25, the result of a joint investigation by State, federal, and local agencies. Following his arrest, Dr. Jupiter entered into an agreement with the State Board of Dentistry for the temporary suspension of his license as well as his registration to prescribe Controlled Dangerous Substances. He is charged with multiple second- and third-degree counts of dispensing, and possessing with intent to dispense, Schedule II CDS in quantities of both less than and greater than one ounce.
Attorney General Chiesa said, "Joint investigations like this are an important tool in our multi-layered strategy to fight the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. The New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP), which tracks prescription CDS sales throughout our State, played an important role in this investigation."
Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp said, "I appreciate the cooperation between the Federal, State and local authorities in apprehending this dentist who violated the trust the public placed in him. I encourage any individual with knowledge of similar illegal actions by this dentist to please notify the Morris County Prosecutor's Office at 973-285-6200."
Chief James Simonetti stated that prescription drug abuse has been on the rise for the last few decades and has become increasingly prevalent in our communities. Once individuals develop a physical dependence to prescription drugs, the transition to heroin is almost unavoidable. Heroin becomes a cheaper way to support their addiction. These addictions are contributing to the increase of crime in our towns. He credits the excellent teamwork and dedication of the Detectives and Officers involved for the successful conclusion of this investigation.
Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said, "With the NJPMP and with joint enforcement efforts, we are protecting New Jersey's public from healthcare practitioners who abuse their authority to prescribe dangerous medications. There is no doubt that opiate painkillers are as addictive and deadly as heroin. Any prescriber who violates the law and puts the public's health and safety at risk should know we will use every tool at our disposal to stop them and bring them before the law."
The investigation began with a tip from a conscientious local pharmacist, who contacted Roxbury Police to report suspicious pain medication prescriptions written by Jupiter. Investigators in the Division of Consumer Affairs' Enforcement Bureau, using data from the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP), identified a pattern of suspicious prescribing by Jupiter. The Enforcement Bureau contacted the DEA and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office.
During the investigation, undercover law enforcement officers from the Hopatcong Borough Police Department and DEA, and a cooperating witness visited Jupiter's Succasunna dental office on multiple occasions, together and separately, posing as individuals who wanted to obtain Percocet and who did not present any dental or pain issues.
Jupiter allegedly wrote Percocet prescriptions for the undercover officers and cooperating witness on multiple occasions, without once conducting a medical exam or discussing any physical ailments. On two occasions, Jupiter allegedly asked the undercover officers why they wanted Percocet and was told by undercover officers that they "just needed it" and "just wanted them."
On two occasions when writing prescriptions, Jupiter allegedly told the undercover officers to fill the prescriptions at different pharmacies and to tell the pharmacist the Percocet was for "TMJ," or temporomandibular joint disorders. He allegedly told one undercover officer that, if she sold the pills, she should charge $10 for the "brand name pills" but only $7 for the "white pills."
Jupiter allegedly refused monetary payment for the prescriptions, but allegedly solicited the undercover officers for sex, and discussed specific sexual acts. He allegedly came to a hotel to meet the officers, and was arrested there Thursday by Roxbury police.
Jupiter is charged with the following:
- Five (5) Counts of 2C:35-5A(1)B(5) Possession with Intent to Dispense a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance in a quantity less than one ounce, a crime of the Third Degree;
- Five (5) Counts of 2C:35-5A(1)B(5) Dispensing a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance in a quantity less than one ounce, a crime of the Third Degree;
- One (1) Count of 2C:35-5A(1)B(4) Possession with Intent to Dispense a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance in a quantity greater than one ounce, a crime of the Second Degree;
- One (1) Count of 2C:35-5A(1)B(4) Dispensing a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance in a quantity greater than one ounce, a crime of the Second Degree;
- One (1) Count of (2C:5-2) 2C:35-5A(1)B(4) Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Dispense a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance in a quantity greater than one ounce, a crime of the Second Degree;
- One (1) Count of (2C:5-2) 2C:35-5A(1)B(4) Conspiracy to Dispense a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance in a quantity greater than one ounce, a crime of the Second Degree; and
- One (1) Count of 2C:34-1b1 engaging in prostitution contrary to N.J.S. 2C:34-1b1, a Disorderly Persons offense.
Following his arrest, Jupiter was taken to Morris County Jail and was held on $125,000 bail.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For much more information on the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' initiative to halt the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs, view the Division's NJPMP website.
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