Man connected to East Tenn. pill mill extradited from Italy
Federal agents called the pill mill one of the largest in Tennessee.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Federal officials announced a man connected to an East Tennessee pill mill has been extradited to the United States from Italy.
According to a release from the United States Department of Justice, 60-year-old Luca Sartini was successfully extradited on June 26. Officials said he is a co-defendant of Sylvia Hofstetter. Investigators said Hofstetter was the ring leader of the entire operation. She and three medical providers were convicted of “numerous charges related to ‘pill mill’ operations in Florida and Tennessee” after a four-month trial earlier in 2020.
Hofstetter was found guilty on charges of distributing opioids without a legitimate medical purpose, and money laundering. FBI agents raided several East Tennessee pain clinics, including one on Lovell Road and another in Lenoir City in 2018.
The DOJ said Sartini contested his extradition for approximately two years. Investigators said he owned and operated pain clinics in South Florida and Knoxville over several years. He faces charges of racketeer influenced and corrupt organization conspiracy and a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, oxymorphone and morphine outside the scope of professional practice and note for a legitimate medical purpose.
Sartini appeared before a judge on June 26 and pleaded not guilty to all his charges. His trial was set for September 1. If convicted, he faces imprisonment of up to 20 years on each of his charges and fines up to $1,000,000.
The DOJ said the last co-defendant in the case, Luigi “Jimmy” Palma, is facing extradition procedures in Italy.
Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.