Over 3,000 pills seized, suspect charged with running 'street pharmacy,' Round Lake Park police say

News-Sun

Round Lake Park police and the Lake County sheriff's office reported Friday that they arrested a Lake Villa man this week in connection with what they say was the illegal sale of pharmaceuticals on a large scale, including cases where the suspect offered drive-up and delivery service for several types of drugs.

Phillip J. Libenson, 44, of the 37000 block of N. Route 59, was taken into custody Thursday around 1 p.m. when village police officers and members of the sheriff's office gang unit executed a search warrant at Libenson's home, said Round Lake Park police Chief George Filenko.

Libenson was charged with two counts of class X felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, four counts of class 3 felony possession with intent to deliver, and one class 4 felony possession with intent to deliver, Filenko said. He added that Libenson was held in the Round Lake Park lockup Friday and was being scheduled for a bond hearing.

Police recovered more than 3,000 pills, including the pain killer oxycodone; Ritalin, which is used for attention deficit disorder; Xanax, used for treating anxiety disorders; buprenorphine, an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction; temazepam, used to treat insomnia; and the pain killer tramadol, Filenko said.

"These drugs are pretty expensive. That's why they are a gateway to heroin," Filenko said. "The illegal sale of legal prescription drugs is few and far between, but there is a market for them."

Filenko added that the number of drugs seized was "pretty unusual," saying that in most cases of illegal possession, police come across people on traffic stops who have a couple of pills on them.

"It appears that Libenson was running a drive-up and delivery street pharmacy," he said, adding that police believe Libenson used a hand exchange with customers in his driveway and when delivering orders.

According to Filenko, investigators are still looking into how the suspect came to possess the pharmaceuticals.

"At this point, it appears he may have been doctor shopping," Filenko said.

In a statement announcing the arrest, Filenko said the "national recognition of the Opioid Epidemic is gaining momentum and treatment is a key component in the battle against addiction. We still need to remember that eliminating the street level suppliers by taking a bottom up approach plays a significant role in this process."

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Copyright © 2018, Lake County News-Sun
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