MYRTLE BEACH — Richard Rublowitz, a Myrtle Beach man charged with being the kingpin of a drug distribution network in two states, was found hanged in his jail cell Thursday at the Florence County Detention Center.
Rublowitz, 57, was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon.
Florence County Coroner Bubba Matthews said the cause of Rublowitz’s death is pending an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division.
Rublowitz was arrested this week as part of a multistate drug sweep by federal agents that also led to the arrests of six of his family members and three New Jersey residents. All of them have been charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to distribute the pain-killing drug oxycodone.
In addition to Rublowitz and his wife, Mindy, FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency officials arrested the couple’s three sons: Matthew “Fat Man” Rublowitz; Justin Rublowitz; and Sean Rublowitz, according to a news release issued Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey.
Also arrested were Myrtle Beach residents Kristin Jacobs, the 26-year-old girlfriend of Sean Rublowitz, and Jacklyn Rublowitz, the 30-year-old wife of Justin Rublowitz.
Monmouth County, N.J., pharmacist Randy Binder, 59, who allegedly dispensed the oxycodone pills, was arrested Thursday along with Joseph Aversa, 30, of Ventnor, N.J., and Scott Mazzara, 33, of Lanoka Harbor, N.J.
A criminal complaint unsealed Thursday alleges that the Rublowitz family purchased oxycodone and other drugs at New Jersey pharmacies and then shipped the drugs by overnight package carriers to Myrtle Beach for sale in this area. Federal officials said the scheme had been taking place since at least 2009.
Federal agents put a wiretap on Richard Rublowitz’s cell phone in May and June and recorded numerous conversations between him and Binder, who worked at the Texas Road Pharmacy in Manalapan, N.J., according to the complaint. Those conversations allegedly show that Binder would illegally dispense oxycodone and other pharmaceutical pills to Richard Rublowitz and other co-conspirators in exchange for cash and other nonmonetary compensation, including hockey playoff tickets.
The conspiracy to distribute oxycodone charge is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $2 million fine. No trial dates have been set for those charged in the case.
Wire services contributed to this report.
Contact DAVID WREN at 626-0281.