Seven Myrtle Beach residents and three New Jersey residents were arrested in a multi-state drug sweep, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Thursday.
Richard Rublowitz, 57, his wife Mindy Rublowitz, 55, Matthew Rublowitz, 33, Sean Rublowitz, 25, his girlfriend Kristin Jacobs, 26, Justin Rublowitz, 31, and his wife, Jacklyn Rublowitz, 30, were arrested, according to a news release.
Richard Rublowiz was found dead in his cell at the Florence County detention center at 7 p.m. on Thursday night, according to Deputy Coroner Don Reynolds.
Matthew, Sean and Justin Rublowitz are the sons of Richard and Mindy Rublowitz. All seven are charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone.
Randy Binder, 59, of Matawan, N.J., turned himself in and was charged Thursday in the federal Complaint. On Wednesday, Joseph Aversa, 30, of Ventnor, N.J., and Scott Mazzara, 33, of Lanoka Harbor, N.J. were arrested.
Members of the DEA's Tactical Diversion Squad and special agents of the FBI made the arrests.
The seven arrested in Myrtle Beach appeared in federal court in Florence, Wednesday.
Richard and Mindy Rublowitz worked at a doctor's office in Oakhurst, N.J. Richard Rublowitz was the office manager and Mindy Rublowitz was the receptionist. Although they were both full-time residents of South Carolina, Richard and Mindy Rublowitz would frequently travel to New Jersey to work at the doctor's office, according to information released by the US Attorney's Office.
Several confidential sources told law enforcement, "the doctor did not perform a full medical examination on them during their initial visit and typically did not perform any examinations or tests during subsequent visits." The release goes on to say Richard Rublowitz "filled prescriptions for oxycodone pills, and then sold the pills."
Between August 2009 and May 2012, approximately 190 separate FedEx and UPS packages were mailed by several of the defendants from New Jersey to the Myrtle Beach residences of co-defendants and were also received by co-defendants at a FedEx pickup store, the release says.
Federal officials also performed wire taps which they say "revealed that Justin and Jackie Rublowitz would manufacture counterfeit prescriptions at their home in South Carolina, which Richard Rublowitz and other co-conspirators would use in New Jersey to obtain pills." Wire taps performed in May and June also revealed Randy Binder, a pharmacist, "distributed oxycodone and other pharmaceutical pills to Richard Rublowitz and other co-conspirators in exchange for cash and other non-monetary compensation."
NewsChannel 15 talked with one of Richard and Mindy's neighbors. Ed Williams says he saw dozens of officers at the couple's home for several hours Wednesday morning.
"They apparently did a thorough search of the house and what I could see there was quite a few of them. They had cameras, they had dogs. It seemed to be a pretty big outfit that had come in here," Williams explains. "I never really believed that that kind of stuff would go on in this neighborhood, but yet when you realize the enormous activity that's going on in drug trafficking today and how big it is here in Myrtle Beach, it doesn't surprise me now."
The conspiracy count with which the defendants are charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $2 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the N.J. DEA Tactical Diversion Squad and the FBI with the investigation leading to arrests.