A Pharmacist and the Owner of Pharmacies In Riverside and Los Angeles Counties Sentenced To Federal Prison For Illegally Dispensing Hydrocodone
JUN 4 -- (LOS ANGELES) – A pharmacy owner and a pharmacist who operated pharmacies in Riverside and Los Angeles Counties and dispensed millions of hydrocodone pills for cash were sentenced last week to federal prison.
Richard Lacson, age 51, owner of Home Care Pharmacy in Riverside County and Colima Pharmacy in Los Angeles County, who resided in Chatsworth, was sentenced by Judge Andrew J. Guilford on May 26,2010 to 24 months in prison and 3 years supervised release.
Cesar Cabrera, age 50, a pharmacist who resided in Trabuco Canyon, was sentenced by Judge Selna on May 24, 2010 to 27 months federal prison.
According to court documents, from 2007 to 2009, Lacson and Cabrera conspired with each other to distribute highly addictive controlled substances to local dealers in Southern California. Lacson employed Cabrera as a pharmacist who ordered large quantities of controlled substances from drug suppliers, had the drugs delivered to the pharmacies, and then sold them to local street dealers. Lacson used the illegal drug proceeds from Home Care Pharmacy in Riverside, to purchase Colima Pharmacy in Los Angeles County.
“Prescription drug abuse continues to threaten the health and safety of our communities," stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum. "DEA and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate those who use their professional status to distribute these dangerous drugs.”
"Professional licensees such as pharmacists, who perpetrate illegal prescription drug diversion schemes are, at their core, drug dealers," stated Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge of IRS - Criminal Investigation's Los Angeles Field Office. "IRS - Criminal Investigation will continue to work alongside our federal law enforcement partners and use our unmatched financial expertise to bear in the war on drugs."
The Riverside office of the Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that the approximate street value of the 2 million dosage units of hydrocodone distributed was approximately $8 million dollars.
Cabrera pleaded guilty to 2 counts of distribution of hydrocodone and 1 count of money laundering. Lacson pleaded guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to distribute hydrocodone, and 1 count of money laundering. Hydrocodone, a Schedule III substance when marketed in multi-ingredient products, is typically used for the relief of moderate to severe pain and commonly sold under the brand names Vicodin and Lortab (see: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov).
This investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation with significant assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Orange County District Attorney Investigators, California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department.