98 arrested in prescription drug crackdown

June 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM
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NEW YORK, June 7 (UPI) -- A major crackdown on the illegal distribution of prescription painkillers on Long Island and in New York City led to 98 arrests, officials said.

Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local police made the arrests throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties and Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island in the past week, Newsday reported.

The arrests were part of a wide-ranging effort to combat the trafficking of prescription drugs, including oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin and hydrocodone, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said Wednesday.

Among those arrested were three doctors, who allegedly illegally distributed more than 3 million oxycodone pills combined, as well as members of drug distribution rings who allegedly obtained prescription drugs from doctors in large quantities for personal use and to sell.

The three doctors allegedly ran cash-only businesses through which they handed out prescriptions for claims of pains and ailments from patients who were given lax medical checks, the charging documents allege.

Lynch said illegal prescription drug distribution is "a menace every bit as dangerous as trafficking in cocaine or other narcotics."

"The prescription drug problem presents a new face and a new challenge for law enforcement, as it involves new actors and permeates all of our communities," Lynch said.

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