The SCSO was alerted back in July 2011 of several 'suspicious' prescriptions for Oxycodone that were dropped off at a Sarasota County pharmacy; the listed doctor was from a Miami-based pain management clinic, according to a report.
On July 18, just days after the new state law went into effect requiring prescriptions be written on counterfeit-proof paper, an order of 400 suspected fraudulent prescriptions on the new legal paper was called in, listing the same Miami doctor’s name.
However, when the scrips were delivered the address, 1620 Main Street, in Sarasota, it was discovered that the building was not a pain management clinic.
As it turns out, a crime ring had several recruiters who were entering pharmacies multiple times a day with identical prescriptions; they would always pay in cash, a report said. The recruiters chose two primary pharmacies, Olson Liggett Rexall Drug in Sarasota and Barclay Pharmacy in Venice.
The fraud script ring leader is Cuban and primarily involved people of Cuban descent from Sarasota County who were paid for the use of their personal information on the prescriptions. Most defendants knew each other and were recruited by word of mouth, particularly if they were in need of cash.
The investigation eventually revealed that the ring had gained 220 fraudulent prescriptions for 19,980 Oxycodone pills. The recruiters collected the pills from the runners and turned them over to the ringleader, who lived in Sarasota at the time. The street value of this quantity of Oxycodone pills would have been about $300,000.
At this time, the ringleader, Pedro Alcantara, is being held in Miami where he was wanted on unrelated charges. He is charged with conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone. Another 60 people were arrested over the past several months and as recently as last week in Sarasota and Manatee counties. One woman was tracked to Tampa International Airport where she tried to board a flight to Cuba.
The investigation is ongoing and additional warrants have been signed, with most suspects facing multiple counts of Obtaining Oxycodone by Fraud and Trafficking charges.