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DEA Arrests Doctor and Pharmacists For Conspiracy To Possess With
SEP 6 -- SAN JUAN, P.R. - Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico; Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Caribbean Division; Ralph Culkin, Resident Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI): Dr. Jose Galarza, Administrator, Puerto Rico Health Department’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (ASSMCA), and Ramon Ortega, Associate Superintended, Police of Puerto Rico (PRPD) today jointly announced the arrest of 15 individuals charged with violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846 (conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and dispense controlled substances), 853 and 881 (forfeiture allegation). The main suspect is also charged with 7 more counts in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841 (a)(1) (distribution of a controlled substance by a practitioner).
The Indictment charges that from on or about January, 2005, through September 4, 2007, 22 defendants, aided and abetted by each other, did knowingly and intentionally conspire, confederate and agree with each other, and with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to posses with intent to distribute and dispense approximately 435.9 kilograms (gross weight) or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of Oxycodone (a Schedule II Controlled Substance prescribed for pain; a morphine derivative and the active ingredient in painkillers such as Percodan, Percocet, Endocet, Endodan and Roxicet); and approximately 278.85 kilograms (gross weight) or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of Alprazolam (a Schedule IV controlled substance prescribed to treat panic attacks and anxiety disorders; active ingredient in Xanax).
The object of the conspiracy was to write multiple prescriptions for controlled substances under different names; then fill these prescriptions at three (3) particular pharmacies, Farmacia Bonneville and Farmacia Gabriella in the Municipality of Caguas, and Farmacia Carimas in Levittown; and then subsequently resell the individual pills on the street for profit and financial gain. All transactions were to be conducted in cash and, in order to hide and conceal the conspiracy, the defendants did not report the profits on tax returns submitted to the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury.
The principal defendant, Doctor José Victor Vázquez-Senti, did write approximately 26,904 or more prescriptions for Oxycodone, totaling 1,345,200 or more dosage units; and approximately 26,904 or more prescriptions for Alprazolam, totaling 1,076,160 or more dosage units. During the course of the conspiracy, the other three principal defendants: Abdullah Ahmad-Yassin, owner of Farmacia Carimas, purchased 532,700 or more dosage units of Oxycodone, and 426,100 or more dosage units of Alprazolam; Myriam Daisy Pérez-Pérez, owner of Farmacia Bonneville purchased 640,100 or more dosage units of Oxycodone and 512,080 or more dosage units of Alprazolam; and José Raúl Dieppa-Pérez, owner of Farmacia Gabriella, purchased 889,500 or more dosage units of Oxycodone and 711,600 or more dosage units of Alprazolam.
If the allegations contained in Counts One through Eight results in convictions, all 22 defendants shall forfeit to the United States properties and/or cash for a total of $8,878,000. The following properties have been identified: Farmacia Carimas, Farmacia Bonneville, and nine (9) properties owned by the defendants, the majority of the properties identified so far are owned by Doctor Vázquez-Senti. If convicted, the defendants face up to twenty (20) years imprisonment, with fines of up to $1,000,000.
The Drug Enforcement Administration also issued orders to show cause and immediate suspension of registration for Doctor Vázquez-Senti, Farmacia Bonneville, Farmacia Carimas and Farmacia Gabriella. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance form FDA-OCI, ASSMCA and PRPD, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Anderson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannette Mercado, Deputy Chief, Narcotics Unit.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial and the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.