Man identified as head of oxycodone ring sentenced to prison
The father of a Jefferson Hills man told a federal judge that he plans to come out of retirement to start a heating and air conditioning business so that his son can work when he leaves prison.
“I intend to start a small business and work him into that business,” said Philip J. Larcinese Jr., 66, of Jefferson Hills.
His son, John Paul Larcinese, 32, pleaded guilty to operating an oxycodone ring. U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond sentenced him on Monday to eight years and nine months in prison and three years of probation.
The younger Larcinese told the judge that he “threw away opportunities that most people don't get” and regrets losing the respect of relatives and friends. He said that, as a result of his arrest, for the first time in a decade he believes he can function without drugs and plans to change his life.
“I can't believe what I became,” he said. “I wasn't raised that way.”
Mary E. Larcinese, 60, former mayor of Jefferson Hills, said her son has improved remarkably since his arrest in June 2010.
“We do have faith that he's going to become part of society again,” she said. John Paul Larcinese's brother, Philip Larcinese III, is an investigator with the state Attorney General's Office.
John Paul Larcinese was one of 19 people whom a federal grand jury indicted as part of the ring, which investigators said utilized homemade and stolen doctors' prescription notepads, fake driver's licenses, doctor identification numbers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and a computer template tracking transactions and participants.
Dismantling the ring “opened the front” in the war on illegal pills in Western Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said when authorities announced the indictments and arrests.
The suspects obtained 1,645,000 tablets of oxycodone, Hickton said. A 30-milligram tablet sells on the street for $30, he said, though not all the tablets were that size. Authorities estimated the ring distributed more than $1.6 million worth of OxyContin, oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Picking said at the sentencing that Larcinese admitted his crimes when he was arrested on state charges, and his cooperation and testimony in related cases has been valuable to the government.
Diamond said his sentence acknowledged his help, but the judge noted that Larcinese benefited from his cooperation because authorities had allowed him to plead to a single conspiracy charge. The drug ring started with his theft of a blank prescription pad from a hospital, the judge said.
“The defendant was the principal actor in this conspiracy,” Diamond said.
Diamond ordered Larcinese to forfeit $18,911 that the government identified as money he made from his crimes.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.