BOSTON (WJZ) — Fourteen owners or employees of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy have been charged in connection with a lethal meningitis outbreak in 2012. The outbreak killed 64 people across the country, including three right here in Maryland.

Rick Ritter has more on the arrests.

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Tainted steroids manufactured by the pharmacy were blamed for the outbreak. The charges are contained in a 131 count indictment—and some include second degree murder—while victims tell their emotional stories.

Agonizing pain and families torn apart.

“I was like a person would feel when they’re raped. I was scared to death,” said victim Sheila Smelkinson.

“It’s been a terrible ordeal,” said Harriet Cohen, whose husband was a victim.

This after a simple steroid shot to relieve back pain became a death sentence for dozens across the countries.

“She suffered for all those months and it poisoned her brain,” said Harriet Friendman, whose mother was a victim.

In the fall of 2012, contaminated drugs were discovered at a compounding lab in Massachusetts. Regulators found a host of potential contaminants at the company’s plant, including standing water, mold and dirty equipment.

“This is the black mold injected into our clients’ spines,” said Rob Jenner, an attorney at Janet, Jenner & Suggs.

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Pictures shed only a glimpse.

“It is a nightmare of the first order and they knew it was happening. They knew people were dying,” Jenner said.

On Wednesday, 14 former employees of the New England company were indicted. The tainted steroid was shipped to 23 states over the years, ending up in seven clinics in Maryland. The most serious charges are against one of the co-owners and head pharmacists of the company. Both are charged with racketeering and second degree murder.

“I couldn’t sleep at night because my fear was if I went into a deep sleep, I probably wouldn’t wake up the next day,” said victim Gerald Cohen.

Harriet Friendman represents her mother, a Holocaust survivor and vibrant woman killed just 10 months after she received a lethal injection.

“That’s the only reason I’m here is because I’m here to stand up. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” she said.

Lives lost and pain endured that will never be justified.

“I think we’ll be suffering for the rest of our lives with this,” said Francis Fleming.

More than 750 people in 20 states were sickened by the outbreak. The former US District Attorney for Philadelphia was at the press conference and called this an “unusual indictment,” saying companies in the past have gotten away with heavy fines but calls these charges “extremely significant.”

The New England pharmacy gave up its license and filed for bankruptcy protection after it was flooded with hundreds of lawsuits filed by victims and their families.

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Rick Ritter