An unemployed West Seneca man who lost his nurse practitioner’s license in Arizona because of earlier misconduct and a Buffalo couple were arrested on federal charges Thursday for allegedly trafficking in the powerful and dangerous opioid painkiller fentanyl, according to U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr.
Brandon M. Coburn, 32, of West Seneca; Jennifer Courton, 28 and Calvin Elston, Jr., 38, were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy on charges carrying prison terms of up to 40 years and fines of up to $350,000 if they are convicted.
Coburn and Courton were released from custody but Elston was held because of other criminal allegations. He faces a detention hearing. Each is charged with possession with intent to distribute and distributing fentanyl and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, Hochul said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Caleb J. Petzoldt said the three are accused of having Coburn, who could legally prescribe controlled substances because he was still licensed as a nurse practitioner, though unemployed, provide Courton and Elston with fake fentanyl prescriptions between last December until April which they took and had filled and then sold on Buffalo streets.
Fentanyl is sometimes dangerously mixed with heroin sold on the streets locally, causing near-certain fatal overdoses, prosecutors said.