MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami Lakes man, his wife and his mother accused of trafficking in pharmaceutical drugs have been taken into custody and charged.
Jorge and Vicky Castillo of Miami Lakes, along with his 60-year old mother Graciela Quevedo, were arrested Monday and charged with trafficking in contraband prescription drugs, conspiracy to traffic in contraband prescription drugs, money laundering and organized scheme to defraud.
Their arrests came after a five-year investigation into possible pharmaceutical product diversion.
The investigation into Castillos, which began in 2008, was conducted by the Medicaid Fraud Unit, the Florida Office of Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
FDLE agents believe the Castillos were engaged in drug diversion, and other associated crimes, since at least 2006.
Between 2006 and the present, Castillo, 43, allegedly purchased black market pharmaceutical drugs in South Florida, New York and New Jersey from and unlicensed sources. The majority was diverted from the Medicaid and Medicare programs, including purchases on the street from Medicaid recipients by a network of suppliers to Castillo.
“The majority of these diverted drugs were paid for by Florida’s Medicaid program, which essentially had taxpayers picking up the tab for illegal activity,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Investigators believe the drugs collected in South Florida were shipped to Detroit where they were containers were cleaned of their labels, if necessary, and then resold to Castillo’s retail pharmacy customers.
Castillo may have shipped to 72 different pharmacies in at least 18 states over the last few years, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Over the past five years, agents believe Castillo’s organization has made more than $25 million in sales to the 72 pharmacies.
Castillo’s defense attorney Jamie Benjamin tried to convince the judge that Castillo was not a flight risk and should qualify for a lower bond.
“Just because you have money doesn’t mean you can disappear like a magician.”
“Mr. Castillo is a respectable businessman, a father of five, who has never been arrested before,” says Benjamin.
Castillo is being held at the Broward County Jail on $3.5 million bond. Vicky Castillo, 42, and Quevedo are also being held in Broward on $450,000 bond each.
Benjamin says there will be an emergency hearing on Wednesday morning to have the bond reduced.