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Three charged in 7,000 pill oxycodone scheme

An indictment was unsealed today against three Philadelphia men, charging them in a scheme to distribute 7,000 oxycodone pills between March 2009 and April of this year.

Authorities said William "Billy" Andrews, 51, of South Philadelphia, obtained oxycodone pills from various sources, including a licensed physician who issued prescriptions to Andrews authorizing him to obtain oxycodone pills from licensed pharmacies.

Andrews then supplied the pills to codefendant Joseph Fareri, 51, of Girard Park, to sell the pills to customers, typically charging $20 for a 30-milligram pill, the indictment said.

Andrews and Fareri used "code words and cryptic language" when discussing the distribution of the pills, the indictment said, in order to conceal the drug distribution from law enforcement officials.

Authorities said Andrews also sold oxycodone pills to customers and when he was unavailable to make deliveries of the pills, codefendant John Marshall made deliveries.

The indictment said that 23 of the oxycodone transactions occurred within 1,000 feet of five elementary schools and two high schools, mostly in South Philadelphia.

Other drug transactions occurred near Thomas Jefferson University, the indictment said.

Oxycodone is a prescription painkiller that is frequently abused.