The Department of Justice office of public affairs has levelled charges against 41 individual for their involvement in the network responsible for diverting over 23 million oxycodone, Hydrocodone and carisoprodol pills worth million dollars. Those involved in diverting pills belong to various professions. Those 41 accused belong from a different profession like medical providers, clinic owners and managers, pharmacists, pharmacy owners and managers as well as drug dealers and traffickers. They all collectively were successful in diverting 23 million oxycodone, hydrocodone and carisoprodol pills. Federal law enforcement agents also executed 36 search warrants including 15 pharmacies and six “pill mill” clinics, as well as other offices and residences, aimed at disrupting networks of opioid diversion.
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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also served immediate suspension orders on seven pharmacies and two providers involved in dispensing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose. The Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section (HCF Unit) led the enforcement actions in conjunction with U.S. Attorney’s Offices (USAOs) for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas and District of Massachusetts as well as the DEA and task force officers from greater Houston police departments and the FBI.
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The charges allege participating doctors, medical professionals and pharmacies knew the prescriptions had no legitimate medical purpose and were outside the usual course of professional practice. In some cases, “crew leaders” and “runners” allegedly filled or had the individuals who posed as patients fill the illegal prescriptions at Houston-area pharmacies. The owner in charge at one pill mill pharmacy allegedly dispensed the second-highest amount of oxycodone 30mg pills of all pharmacies in the entire State of Texas in 2019, and the ninth highest amount in the nation. One hundred percent of the oxycodone dispensed by this pharmacy – every single oxycodone pill that left the premises – was in the highest available dosage strength of that drug.
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