Man sold $7 million worth of painkillers, authorities say

Bail was set at $3 million today for a south suburban man charged with selling painkillers stolen from the Skokie pharmacy where he worked.

Earl Newsome, 57, of Calumet Park was arrested Thursday and charged with delivery of a controlled substance and theft following a months-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Cook County Sheriff's Department, according to a release from the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Newsome worked at Pharmore Drugs in Skokie, which supplies health care facilities with prescription medications, and part of his duties was placing orders with wholesale drug companies, the office said.

Since January 2001, investigators believe, Newsome diverted and illegally sold about 700,000 pills containing the painkiller hydrocodone worth up to $7 million on the street, according to the release.

Pharmore Drugs was billed and made payment for the illegally diverted drugs, the state's attorney's office said.

He appeared today before Judge Marcia Orr, who set his bail at $3 million and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Oct. 3.

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