More is being learned about a major drug bust that resulted in the arrest of a Rochester Raiders football player and the team physician.
Authorities said Monday’s arrests were the result of a six-month investigation that involved a number of law enforcement agencies from six different western New York counties.
District attorneys from four of those counties believe the leader of an area prescription drug ring is under arrest. Charles Livingston, a physician’s assistant from Nunda in Livingston County, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance. Livingston is also the Rochester Raiders team physician.
"Through his connections, he was writing scripts or giving scripts to other individuals, both scripts in his name as well as scripts in the doctors that he worked with,” said Livingston County District Attorney Tom Moran. “All those scripts made it to the street via different individuals. The scripts were used to acquire the drugs in question."
Authorities believe Livingston stole the prescription slips from doctors he worked with. They said Rochester Raiders player Jason Coley is one of the people Livingston used to sell and distribute the slips at a price of $800 each. Buyers would then use the slips to purchase prescription drugs.
“They've been written for various drugs including Percocet, Narco and other narcotics and it's our estimation that there are several thousand pills that have hit the street illegally with monies that have been circulated well in excess of a half a million dollars," explained Joe Cardone, Orleans County district attorney.
Authorities are calling this a significant bust and one that is on par with a major cocaine or heroin investigation. District Attorney Mike Green said prescription drugs are becoming more of a problem in Monroe County.
“This is one example of how prescription drugs are getting out onto the street, said Green. “If we were here announcing arrests where half a million dollars of heroin or half a million dollars of cocaine were being put out on the street, there had been busts and a ring of that size had been broken up, it would be a big deal. And it's the same thing here."
The Rochester Raiders said they learned of the arrests late Monday afternoon and confirm Livingston had been the team physician for two years. Coley was a key player on defense. The team released both Tuesday morning.
"We do what's right here and what's right is to let him go and move forward for the community and we just got to go that route,” said team owner Dave McCarthy. “So it's nothing with what he plays and how good he plays. I don't care who the hell it is. If they're doing that, we can't have it, we just can't."
Livingston remains in the Orleans County Jail without bail. Coley has been released and is cooperating with the investigation. Authorities said one more Raiders player could be among the two dozen arrests that are still pending in this case.