Recently in Criminal Investigations Category

December 28, 2011

Pharmacies Targeted for Oxycodone Trafficking

Over the past several months clinics owners and operators, as well as doctors have been arrested and charged with operating "pill mills", a crime otherwise known as trafficking in oxycodone or other well-known pain killers. Now local and federal agents are after "mom and pop" type pharmacies located in the Miami and South Florida area. According to law enforcement, investigations are underway into what is being called a wave of rogue pharmacies that are now becoming the primary focus for the illegal distribution of prescription drugs. Anyone being investigated for or having been arrested for the illegal distribution of oxycodone or other prescription painkillers should retain a Miami criminal lawyer to represent them during any investigation in which they became involved or to defend any charges that have been filed in state or federal court.

Pharmacy owners caught up in the illegal distribution of prescription medications have had their permits suspended by the State of Florida. Curiously, the pharmacies have been allowed to remain open for business, but can no longer fill prescriptions. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida claimed, "This is an epidemic, a public health crisis that has killed thousands in Florida. Our strategy is to attack the problem from all angles, from all the sources of oxycodone." The investigations are focusing on doctors, clinics and pharmacies that all work together to make the businesses look legitimate. In any event, both local and state prosecutors are focusing on all "pill mills" and their co-conspirators and charging all those involved with drug trafficking or conspiracy to commit drug trafficking.

Local and state law enforcement are cracking down on all methods of the illegal distribution of prescription medications. They are hoping that the recently broadened strategy to focus now on pharmacies will slow the epidemic that has plagued South Florida. They believe the increased focus on pharmacies along with the new anti-pill mill legislation that became law in July will have a positive impact in reducing the popular drug crime. The new law requires the state Department of Health to monitor the number of pain killers pharmacies distribute and determine the amount that can be distributed every month. The new law also makes it more difficult to open a new clinic in the State of Florida with increased scrutiny of permit requests.

Over the past several years, Florida has become know as the pain killer capital of the United States. At one point, 150 clinics operated in Broward County illegal distributing painkillers. It became so bad that people would travel from states such as Kentucky and Tennessee to illegally obtain prescription drugs. People from other countries such as Turkey and Mexico would travel to South Florida for the same purpose. Since June, federal criminal investigations have discovered multiple drug trafficking rings involving the illegal distribution of oxycodone operating out of at least seven pharmacies. One of the pharmacies operating out of Plantation is accused of filling 72 prescriptions on a daily basis. The feds increased focus on pharmacies and continued focus on "pill-mills" in general will lead to more arrests over the coming months.

Painkiller Peddlers: Pharmacies Targeted in Pill-Mill Crackdown, Miami Herald.com, December 24, 2011.