Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Prescription Drug Crimes
In light of the recent fraud scheme discovered in Alabama, meant to illegally obtain oxycodone from a clinic in Opelika, Alabama citizens should be aware of the State’s tougher stance on prescription drug trafficking. Drug trafficking charges bring stiff consequences, but some people do not realize that these serious offenses are not limited to illegal or “street” drugs.
Scheme to obtain fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions
An elaborate scheme in Opelika, Alabama has resulted in the conviction of at least 8 people from Alabama, as well as Florida and Georgia. The apparent ringleader, a citizen of Miami, developed a scheme to create false medical records to support fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions. The paperwork was then submitted to Emeds Medical Management, a pain clinic located in Opelika. The records often included Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) results that, although appearing legitimate, actually contained fabricated information regarding medical conditions and diagnoses.
Some of the individuals involved posed as patients of the clinic, in order to receive the prescriptions. These drug-seekers paid the masterminds a fee for the prescriptions. They group also had an “inside man,” or woman in this case, who worked for Emeds and was responsible for verifying the legitimacy of paperwork submitted to the clinic by patients. She was paid a fee per patient, as well as, a supply of pills.
Alabama joins the fight against prescription drug crimes
The Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) has been conducting a huge investigation, referred to as “Operation Pilluted,” into prescription drug abuse. This investigation has resulted in raids in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which resulted in more than 280 trafficking arrests, including 26 in Alabama. Operation Pilluted has led to more than $11.6 million in assets seized, including 51 vehicles, 202 guns and about $400,000 in cash. Of the 280 people arrested during the operation, 22 were doctors and pharmacists.
It may be surprising that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the highest number of narcotic painkiller prescriptions in 2012, with 143 prescriptions per 100 people, was in Alabama. If you have questions regarding drug trafficking charges, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law either online or by calling us at (205) 296-4233.