MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
The largest-ever prescription drug operation in U.S.
history has netted 22 doctors and pharmacists, as well as some 300
others, over the course of a 15-month, joint federal-state operation,
said DEA and federal prosecutors Wednesday.
Pilluted," the raids were carried out in four southern states, including
Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Nearly 1,000 state and
federal law enforcement officers worked together to stem the tide of
trafficking and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs.
investigators used multiple sources of information provided by state and
local law enforcement, as well as citizen complaints, to identify those
involved in prescribing, obtaining, and distributing dangerous and
addictive controlled substances such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and
U.S Attorney George Beck said these "drug dealing doctors" would be prosecuted to the fullest extent. "When
unscrupulous doctors take money under the table, file false medical
reports, hire people to recruit patients to file false medical reports
the federal government and state and local officials have no choice but
to investigate", Beck explained.
Robert Bentley spoke to reporters about the prescription pain
pill epidemic while holding his DEA card, used to prescribe narcotics.
"When doctors chose to over-prescribe narcotics, and they knew
these patients are abusing, they go from being a doctor to a drug
dealer", Bentley said - calling these physicians an embarrassment to the
2013, approximately 43,982 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred
in the United States, one death every 13 minutes. Nearly 52 percent of
those deaths (22,767) were attributed to prescription drugs. Of these,
71 percent (16,235) were attributed to opioid overdoses.
committed to reducing the destruction brought on by the trafficking and
abuse of prescription drugs through aggressive criminal enforcement,
robust administrative oversight, and strong relationships with other law
enforcement agencies, the public, and the medical community,” said DEA
Special Agent in-Charge Keith Brown. “The doctors and pharmacists
arrested in Operation Pilluted are nothing more than drug traffickers
who prey on the addiction of others while abandoning the Hippocratic
Oath adhered to faithfully by thousands of doctors and pharmacists each
day across this country.”
In addition to the doctors and
pharmacists arrested, another 280 individuals were arrested on Federal
and state charges related to their illegal pharmaceutical trafficking
activities. 21 search warrants were executed across Arkansas, Alabama,
Louisiana and Mississippi.
Authorities seized 51 vehicles, 202
weapons, and $404,828 in cash. There were also 73 warrants executed that
resulted in the seizure of $11.6 million in cash and $6.7 million in
In addition to DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Offices
in the four states, other federal participants in Operation Pilluted
include FBI, DHS, U.S. Marshals, FDA, ATF, and IRS. State and local law
enforcement from each of the four states were instrumental as well.
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