He was a cop. Then he became ‘Founding father’ of internet pill mills

File photo of hydrocodone pills
File photo of hydrocodone pills AP

Attorneys now call him the “founding father” of illegal internet pharmacies, but first, Juan Gallinal was a police officer.

The 49-year-old man pleaded guilty in 2015 to turning a small brick-and-mortar drugstore into a sprawling national online pharmacy that “spread addiction throughout the country,” U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes wrote in a release. He was sentenced to eight years in prison on Friday.

Gallinal used a fake owner, a shell corporation and databases hidden on a Swiss server to hide the business, which delivered drugs to 200 customers in Washington State between 2009 and 2012. In those three years, Gallinal and his team made $9 million on thousands of customers nationwide.

Customers without prescriptions ordered hundreds of thousands of hydrocodone, phentermine, Xanax and codeine pills — at up to ten times the price.

Gallinall agreed to forfeit $1.9 million, and pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; conspiracy to distribute controlled substances by means of the internet; and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Note: The original story misidentified Juan Gallinal as Pembroke Pines police officer. He was from Pembroke Pines, but was a Virginia police officer.

Alex Harris: 305-376-5005, @harrisalexc