According to TC Palm, a federal jury in south Florida found a Vero Beach orthopedic surgeon guilty on five of the seven federal counts he was charged with. Johnny C. Benjamin was found guilty of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute furanyl fentanyl, which resulted in death, possessing acetyl fentanyl with the intent to distribute, conspiring to possess and distribute various prescription opioids, and possessing oxycodone with the intent to distribute. Benjamin was found not guilty on two firearms charges.
As previously reported by PSM, the case against Johnny C. Benjamin started after a Wellington woman named Maggie Crowley died after taking what turned out to be a counterfeit oxycodone pill made with furanyl fentanyl. In March, Kevan Slater and Zachary Stewart, who had been working as confidential informants, were named and charged in court. Earlier in April, both entered guilty pleas in connection to their roles in Crowley’s death. Although the jury had been presented with over 150 pieces of evidence during Benjamin’s weeklong trial, they returned the guilty verdicts in just three hours.
The sentencing hearing has been set for July 7th, 2018. Benjamin faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison, but it is possible that District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas may give him life and impose millions in fines. Assistant U.S. Attorney John McMillan prosecuted this case with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Michael Buemi. Outside the courtroom, McMillan said, “We are very happy with the jury’s verdict of guilty. A young woman’s life was lost due to the defendant misusing his talents as a physician, and such activity surely deserves a heavy punishment.”