MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Police say they have busted a pharmaceutical drug ring making millions of dollars in South Florida. The crime could potentially put any of us in danger when we purchase drugs at a pharmacy.
The small, unassuming business in an office park at 7175 SW 47th Street in Southwest Miami-Dade, featured an elevator for pills, hidden in the ceiling tiles and a secret compartment with a staircase, leading to a storage space behind a sliding wall. Inside, the hidden compartment, shelves filled with illegally obtained prescription drugs.
Miami-Dade Police say the accused leaders of this pharmaceutical drug ring were smart…but not smart enough.
“Miami’s always known as number one for fraud in everything, so people get very creative. But we catch up to you,” said Miami-Dade Deputy Director Juan Perez.
Police say they arrested five people, including David Rodriguez, who they identify as a former Hialeah Police officer.
They also arrested Hialeah-based obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Rafael Prats.
“We’re not going to allow the citizens of this county, state and country to be harmed by somebody who wants to make money,” said Perez.
Police say the $6.5 million scheme started with street-level guys convincing the elderly to get pricey drugs from pharmacies through medicare and medicaid in exchange for cash. They then would bring the drugs here to be repackaged and sold to three different wholesalers who sold it to unsuspecting pharmacies in other states.
“If these things are not packaged correctly and not kept in particular temperature settings, it can really affect the health of the individuals believing to be taking these medications,” explained Major Ariel Artime.
Some of the drugs in this scheme that may have been tainted…those that treat psychosis, HIV and Cancer.
Those arrested are facing a variety of state and federal charges, including prescription drug trafficking and conspiracy.
Police are also searching for a sixth suspect in this alleged drug ring…now busted open.