Doctor got his wife killed to protect illegal prescription opioid ring, say prosecutors
Breaking News Jan 10, 2018
Doctor got his wife killed to protect illegal prescription opioid ring, say prosecutors

A New Jersey doctor got his wife killed after she threatened to expose an illegal prescription drug ring he was running in collaboration with a motorcycle gang, prosecutors said on Jan. 9, 2018. James Kauffman, an endocrinologist, hired a member of the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Gang to murder his wife April Kauffman in May 2012, the prosecutors said. After over five years of speculation, James was charged in the death of his wife.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said that James (68) built an enormous opioid drug ring with the help of the motorcycle gang. When it came to the notice of his wife, she threatened to expose him and also sought a divorce. According to Tyner, both James and Ferdinand Augello, the gang member, have been charged with murder. Augello was also charged with attempting to get James killed, authorities said.

According to authorities, James would give free prescriptions to individuals sent by Augello who received $1,000 per script or a number of pills after the prescription was filled. People who got the prescription pills either used the drugs or sold them. James is already in the Atlantic County jail on weapons charges after brandishing a gun in June 2017 when authorities executed a search warrant at his popular Egg Harbor Township office.

James had continuously denied any involvement in the death of his wife. But April’s daughter Kimberly Pack had been waiting for a long time for justice to be served as she had long alleged that he was the one who killed her mother. It was a death that “forever changed my life,” she said. Pack had also been involved in a legal battle with his stepfather a few years earlier, when he had tried to claim April’s two life insurance policies.

Dealing with opioid menace

The illegal practices by doctors, who prescribe painkillers for profit, have exacerbated the ongoing epidemic devastating the entire country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sales of prescription opioids in the country went up almost four times between 1999 and 2014. Over half a million people in the United States died from drug overdoses during 2000 to 2015. Shockingly, over 1,000 individuals are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids every day.

The prescription drugs most commonly abused include opioid painkillers such as Vicodin or Oxycontin. Prescription drugs and illegal opioids like heroin are commonly abused as they are very addictive. Opioids bind to the areas of the brain that control pain and emotions, increasing the level of dopamine in the brain’s reward areas and creating an intense feeling of euphoria. However, addiction to harmful opioids can be treated with timely medical interventions. If a person is grappling with opioid use disorder, he/she should immediately seek professional assistance at a reputed rehab center.

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