Jeffrey Eshelman

Pharmacist Jeffrey Eshelman, shown in this 2013 file photo at McElroy's Pharmacy in Lititz, was charged Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, with drug offenses.

The Lititz pharmacy whose owner was charged last week with drug offenses bought more hydrocodone than any other pharmacy in the 175 ZIP code set during an 18-month period, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The DEA made the disclosure in a Nov. 15 application to a federal judge asking for a warrant to inspect McElroy Pharmacy's records under the Controlled Substances Act.

That's about five weeks after a state Attorney General's office agent watched owner Jeffrey Eshelman, 67, hand bottles of pills to a person behind the pharmacy on Oct. 7 and 10, according to documents filed with a Lancaster County district judge.

Those documents charge Eshelman, of Tennis Court, Warwick Township, with illegally providing opioid and anti-anxiety drugs without a prescription. The opioid was hydrocodone.

A DEA spokesman Thursday declined to answer questions about the inspection and charges, citing an ongoing investigation.

Messages left for Eshelman's attorney have not been returned.

In seeking court-approval to inspect the pharmacy's records, a DEA investigator detailed hydrocodone purchases at the pharmacy at 101 E. Main St.

In 2019, through Aug. 1, the pharmacy ranked first among pharmacies in the 175 ZIP for hydrocodone purchases, the application said.

It bought 53,710 pills containing hydrocodone; the second-highest pharmacy, which wasn't identified, purchased 50,600 pills.

That 175 ZIP covers much of Lancaster County, aside from the city, suburbs and the Elizabethtown area.

Citing the pharmacy's hydrocodone purchasing, the DEA said it had a valid public interest in inspecting its records and to make sure it was following the Controlled Substances Act.

The DEA inspected the pharmacy Nov. 18 and seized four boxes of controlled substances.

An inventory receipt noted Eshelman surrendered his DEA registration, which allows registrants to write prescriptions for controlled substances.

Eshelman has a preliminary hearing scheduled Jan. 7 before Lititz District Judge Edward Tobin.