Pill mill defendant extradited from Italy to Knoxville in connection to operations in FL, TN

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Department of Justice announced Monday that 60-year-old Luca Sartini was successfully extradited from Rome to Knoxville.

DOJ says that Sartini is a co-defendant of Sylvia Hofstetter.

Hofstetter along with three medical providers were convicted of numerous charges related to “pill mill” operations in Florida and Tennessee, following a four-month trail earlier this year.

Luca Sartini. (Photo: DOJ)

DOJ says that extradition procedures are continuing in Italy for the last co-defendant in the case, Luigi “Jimmy” Palma.

Sartini contested his extradition from Italy for approximately two years. The charges against Sartini are varied, and reflect his alleged role in owning and operating pain clinics in South Florida and the Knoxville area over the course of several years. Included in the charges are a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy and a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, oxymorphone, and morphine outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

Sartini appeared before the Honorable Debra C. Poplin, U. S. Magistrate Judge, on June 26, 2020, and plead not guilty to all charges. Sartini waived his immediate right to a detention hearing and remains in custody of the United States Marshal. The trial has been set for September 1, 2020, before the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, U. S. District Judge. If convicted, Sartini faces an imprisonment of up to 20 years on each of the charges and fines up to $1,000,000.

Members of the public are reminded that Sartini is presumed innocent until his guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


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This sweeping prosecution, which has resulted in approximately 140 convictions so far, is the result of an investigation by the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the Organized Crime and Gang Section, U.S. Department of Justice, and the FBI High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), comprised of investigators assigned to the task force by the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Roane County Sheriff’s Office, Harriman Police Department, and the Clinton Police Department. Other agencies provided invaluable assistance, including the Rome attaché of the Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI’s liaison in Rome, FBI’s Miami Field Office, the Hollywood, Florida, Police Department, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Knoxville Diversion Group. The Rome attaché and FBI’s liaison in Rome were particularly instrumental in effectuating Sartini’s extradition, as were Italian law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. The United States is particularly appreciative of their assistance



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