CAMDEN, N.J. – A Gloucester City, New Jersey, man today admitted conspiring to distribute and selling oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax and defrauding the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in connection with his role in a drug trafficking ring, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Rocco DePoder, 67, of Gloucester City, pleaded guilty today by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb to an information charging him with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, distributing a quantity of oxycodone, and unlawfully acquiring SNAP benefits in exchange for controlled substances and unlawfully using and possessing those and other SNAP benefits.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
DePoder admitted that on multiple occasions from June 2019 to March 2020, he worked with Erick Bell and others to sell oxycodone in New Jersey. DePoder obtained 60 80 mg. oxycodone pills for $25 per pill from Bell on February 3, 2020, with the intention of distributing the pills to other people. DePoder also admitted to purchasing resale quantities of oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax from conspirators and reselling the pills to others, serving as a leader of criminal activity in that conspiracy. DePoder admitted to selling oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax pills to another person in exchange for a total of $8,374 in SNAP benefits, which were on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, and then personally using some of those SNAP benefits and selling and giving EBT cards to others so they could unlawfully use the SNAP benefits. SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program, is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. EBT cards are similar to debit cards and are used to make food purchases with SNAP benefits – when an EBT card is swiped at a food store authorized for participation in the SNAP program, the amount of the purchase is deducted electronically from the SNAP benefits reserved for the customer and the purchase amount is credited to the retailer’s designated bank account.
The drug conspiracy count carries a maximum potential punishment of 20 years in prison; the count of drug distribution carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison; both counts are also punishable by a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross loss or gain caused by the offenses. The count of SNAP benefits fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of his guilty plea, DePoder will forfeit multiple items, including $6,598 in currency, and pay $8,374.42 in restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2021.
Five other defendants – Marcus Rushworth, 47, of Gloucester City, New Jersey; Kenneth Rushworth, 59, of Gloucester City, New Jersey; Wayne Muse, 74, of Lindenwold, New Jersey; Robert Pratt, 57, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, formerly of Blackwood, New Jersey; and Steven Walker, 47, of Camden, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before Judge Bumb to informations charging them with drug trafficking offenses involving the distribution of prescription drugs. They are awaiting sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of FBI Philadelphia Division, South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; the Camden County Sheriff's Office, under the direction of Sheriff Gilbert L. Wilson; the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, under the direction of Director Jared M. Maples; the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Chief Joseph Wysocki; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
He also thanked the FBI Newark Division, New Jersey State Police, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gabriel J. Vidoni of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Camden Office and Sara F. Merin of the Special Prosecution Division in Newark.