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Druggist’s wife found guilty on 7 counts

Split verdict in Internet case

The wife of a Dorchester pharmacist was convicted in a split verdict in federal court in Boston yesterday of distributing a controlled substance by taking part in an Internet pharmacy drug scheme in violation of federal prescription drug laws.

But the defense team for Gladys Ihenacho, a registered nurse, saw the split verdict as a minor victory. Ihenacho, a mother of five, was convicted of seven of the 30 counts she faced on charges including money laundering and misbranding drugs.

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Earlier in the case, US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns dismissed a count of continuing a criminal enterprise, which would have required a mandatory 20-year sentence if there were a conviction. Prosecutors had alleged Ihenacho, 45, and her husband operated their pharmacy, Meetinghouse Community Pharmacy, as a distribution base for Internet pharmacy sites run out of the Dominican Republic. Such Internet sites have been under scrutiny for selling phony prescriptions without doctor approval.

Her husband, Baldwin Ihenacho, pleaded guilty last year and will be sentenced next month. He faces a lengthy prison sentence.

Defense lawyers for Gladys Ihenacho argued that she should not be held accountable for her husband’s actions, and that prosecutors were reaching too far by roping her into the investigation.

The split verdict came after prosecutors earlier in the trial agreed to dismiss charges against a codefendant in the case, Andrew Berke, once Stearns found “gross incompetence’’ in the handling and destruction of evidence. Berke, who ran Freight Savers Express, a Chicago-based company authorized to deliver DHL Express packages, faced up to 20 years in prison if he had been convicted on charges of distributing prescription drugs that were sold over the Internet.

Gladys Ihenacho will be sentenced May 9 for her convictions for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, five counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and one count of money laundering. She faces several years in prison.

Her lawyer, Robert A. George, said he would ask Stearns to set aside the verdict based on inconsistencies between the counts for which the jury decided guilty and the evidence that was introduced in the trial.

He added that Ihenacho was “pleased with the fact that she was cleared of most of the case.’’

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.
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