WALDORF, Md. — An independently owned pharmacy in Waldorf, Maryland was raided Thursday by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) following an investigation into its owner.
DEA agents seized the federal and state licenses allowing Northgate Pharmacy Owner Vincent Ippolito to handle controlled substances.
Ippolito, 62, and Denise Marie Shifflett, his 45-year-old assistant, were arrested last year on felony charges of illegally distributing drugs and narcotics. Both were indicted by a Charles County Grand Jury in August.
Ippolito distributed narcotics to an undercover officer and Shifflett was conducting street deals of pharmaceutical controlled substances that she got at the pharmacy, police said.
Despite Ippolito pleading guilty to federal charges of selling oxycodone, Northgate Pharmacy was still in business, with opioids still on shelves, while he waited to be sentenced next month.
“He used at least one employee to divert the drugs and sell them on the street, flooding the streets of Charles County and concerning communities with these opioids," said Shane Todd, assistant special agent for the Washington division of the DEA. "In addition, he would do hand in hand deals with addicted females in exchange for sexual favors.”
There were 2,518 opioid-related overdose deaths in Maryland in 2020, which is the last full year statistics were reported on the state’s opioid dashboard.
An employee at nearby businesses expressed surprise following the arrests, and said he'd never had any suspicions about illegal activity happening in the pharmacy.
"It’s always been just a little neighborhood shopping center," said Thomas Keene, who works at Gateway Vape and Tobacco. "It always seems like a peaceful, safe place where all our local residents come ... You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.”
Ippolito did not want to be interviewed on camera Thursday, but told WUSA9 reporter Scott Broom that agents were "making a bigger deal out of this than what it was."
WUSA9 reached out to Ippolito's attorney for comment, but has not heard back.
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