FLEMINGTON, NJ – Four women appeared in federal court yestertoday to face charges of running an oxycodone distribution conspiracy here and elsewhere, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Alicia Balaban, 35, of Wellington, Fla.; Michele Call, 63, of Flemington; Nelida Rios, 55, of Flemington; and Marie DeJulia, 42, of Lodi; were each charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

Balaban was arrested yesterday morning in Wellington and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge James J. Hopkins in West Palm Beach federal court. Call, DeJulia, and Rios were taken into custody yesterday morning in New Jersey and appeared in the afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court. All four defendants were released on bail.

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According to the complaint:

Balaban, who is Calls’s daughter and DeJulia’s friend, is the alleged leader of the drug trafficking conspiracy. From April 2016 through January 2018, Balaban, Call, and Rios allegedly worked together to secure prescriptions for oxycodone, fill them at pharmacies in Flemington, and then distribute the pills to DeJulia from Call and Rios’s Flemington homes. The conspirators allegedly distributed thousands of 30 mg oxycodone pills.

The drug distribution conspiracy charge carries a a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie Nickerson in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.