Richard P. Markowitz, 51, the former owner of the Falls Medical Center Pharmacy at Ridge and Midvale avenues, begged for probation.
Markowitz, of Verree Road near Welsh, claimed he was forced to sell more than $700,000 worth of drugs illegally to co-defendant Herman Baskerville, 35, of Hansberry Street near Wayne Avenue.
The transactions occurred between January 1985 and July 1987, when the U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration put them out of business.
Markowitz said Baskerville threatened to kill him if he refused to supply the ingredients for "pancakes and syrup" and other concoctions called ''fours and dors" and "sets" or "mix," according to court records.
But Baskerville disputed the claim, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joan L. Markman, the case prosecutor. Markman termed "incredible" Markowitz's story of coercion.
"Markowitz was certainly willing enough to continue his relationship with Baskerville for over 2 1/2 years," she wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
The pharmacist, Marvin Benoff, 59, of Kent Lane near Bridle Road, insisted that he cooperated in the sale of drugs to Baskerville only because Markowitz threatened to fire him if he refused.
Markman said Benoff, however, had been caught "selling the same stuff" in the early 1980s at another city pharmacy. He wasn't charged then because he testified against the store owner.
She also noted that Benoff had told government agents "that greed caused him, together with Markowitz, to deal drugs to Baskerville."
Benoff, too, begged for probation, after admitting making at least $75,000
from the scheme.
"They say crime doesn't pay. They're correct," Benoff remarked, glumly.
In addition to the prison terms, the judge fined Markowitz $25,000 and Benoff $10,000. All three defendants will be on probation for five years after release.