Authorities arrested nine people in Houston, Texas, charging them with distributing 1.5 million opioid pills as well as other illegal substances, according to court documents Thursday. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Authorities arrested nine people in Houston, Texas, charging them with distributing 1.5 million opioid pills, as well as other illegal substances, according to court documents Thursday.
Agents from the DEA and FBI made the arrests earlier in the week.
All nine individuals are all from Texas, including a licensed pharmacist and are charged with illegally distributing oxycodone and hydrocodone between 2017 and late 2022.
Prosecutors contend Kent Lyons and Roquel Turner operated a so-called "pill mill pharmacies," procuring and peddling high-quality opioid drugs to drug traffickers on the black market. Truance Alfred was also arrested and charged for his alleged role as one of those drug traffickers.
Authorities believe the two hid the illegal proceeds in bank accounts and real estate, while also using the cash to buy luxury vehicles, including a Rolls Royce and Mercedes Maybach.
The assets are eligible to be seized if the men are convicted.
The trio is charged with illegal distribution of Schedule II opioids and each face up to a 20-year federal prison sentence if convicted.
Separately, police arrested five other people in Houston, including licensed pharmacist Ann Nguyen of Stafford, Texas. Nguyen is charged along with Dwain Ross, Delores Mackey-Ross, Kevin Peterson and Eleanor Marsh with selling around half a million opioid pills. Authorities also accused them of illegally ordering alprazolam, carisoprodol and promethazine to enhance the effects of the opioids.
Dwain Ross and Marsh both allegedly used some of the proceeds to buy luxury vehicles. Dwain Ross allegedly bought a Lamborghini with the money, while Marsh is said to have purchased a Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Lamborghini.
Several Texas-based pharmacies were also listed in court documents and have voluntarily surrendered their DEA registration numbers, meaning the businesses are no longer able to operate.
The men and women face between five and 20 years in federal prison if convicted.