A Miami Lakes man, his wife and his mother have all been arrested in a $25 million prescription drug trafficking scheme, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Tuesday.
Jorge L. Castillo, 43, Vicky Castillo, 42, and Graciela Quevedo, 60, were arrested Monday on charges including trafficking in contraband prescription drugs, conspiracy to traffic in contraband prescription drugs, money laundering and organized scheme to defraud, according to the FDLE.
Jorge Castillo was being held on $3.5 million bond Tuesday. Vicky Castillo and Quevedo were being held on $450,000 bond. It was unknown whether they have attorneys.
The arrests were made after a five-year investigation into pharmaceutical product diversion, though it's believed Castillo was involved in the operation dating back to 2006, the FDLE said.
According to the FDLE, Castillo would buy the contraband pharmaceutical drugs from unlicensed sources, mostly in South Florida but also in New York and New Jersey. The majority of the drug purchases were diverted from the Medicaid and Medicare programs, including purchases on the street from Medicaid recipients by a network of suppliers to Jorge Castillo, the FDLE said.
The drugs were believed to have been shipped to Detroit where they were taken to a warehouse and cleaned of labels before they were resold to Castillo's retail pharmacy customers, the FDLE said.
Authorities believe Castillo may have shipped to 72 different pharmacies in at least 18 states over the past few years. Over the past year, monthly gross income is believed to have been between $500,000 and as much as $1 million or more with the organization taking in more than $25 million in sales over the past five years, the FDLE said.
Several million dollars are believed to have been sent either overseas or to untraceable accounts, the FDLE said.
"Thanks to a strong collaboration among multiple agencies, we have shut down this multi-million dollar prescription drug diversion ring," Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement. "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."
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