Former Turtle Creek police officer jailed on drug charges

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A former part-time Turtle Creek police officer accused of wearing his old uniform to obtain blank prescriptions for pain pills from a doctor in 2011 has been charged with selling prescription narcotics throughout Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

Mark Fisher, 34, of Irwin, was named in a state grand jury presentment Thursday identifying him as a distributor since at least 2007.

He was jailed a week ago on an outstanding bench warrant stemming from the 2011 case.

According to the presentment, Mr. Fisher obtained Roxicodone and sold it at $15 a pill, recruiting addicts to help him distribute the drugs in exchange for giving them some for their own use.

He also told co-conspirators that he had an arrangement with a Mount Pleasant doctor, Emilio Navarro, to get his paper prescriptions filled after first visiting the doctor following an injury in 2007.

One witness said he was present when Mr. Fisher, while in his patrol car, handed one of his distributors five prescriptions for Roxicodone.

The distribution network continued until 2008, after which Mr. Fisher stopped using other distributors and began passing prescriptions at pharmacies using his own name or the name of his wife, according to the grand jury.

Mr. Fisher testified that he became addicted to pain killers after suffering an injury while working as a part-time officer in Swissvale. He said he began seeing Dr. Navarro in 2007 for pain and sleeping pills and that he and his wife became social friends with the doctor.

His drug distribution operation ended in January 2011, when state police accused him of wearing his old Turtle Creek police uniform to pick up three blank prescription slips from Dr. Navarro.

Although he was no longer an officer, troopers said he wore the uniform, complete with firearm, and presented forged documents from the Turtle Creek department and the state attorney general’s office to convince Dr. Navarro that he was working an undercover drug investigation.

Troopers said at the time that Dr. Navarro became suspicious and called police.

Mr. Fisher was arrested in that incident on charges of impersonating a police officer, carrying a gun without a license, forgery and other crimes. The case is pending.

The attorney general’s office, which has made cracking down on prescription drug abuse a priority, later took the investigation before a grand jury.

The AG said the case is continuing and “additional arrests are anticipated.”

Torsten Ove: or 412-263-2620. First Published March 13, 2014 3:01 PM


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