Four Palm Beach County men identified by authorities as leaders of a large prescription drug scam across South Florida are among 45 suspects now facing criminal charges -- the result of an 18-month multi-agency investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Thursday.
“Our actions today are just another step forward to arresting and prosecuting those who fraudulently obtain and supply prescription drugs without medical necessity,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville.
Karl Gross, 31, Lorenzo May, 37, Troy Patton, 42, and Jermaine Ward, 30, all of Boynton Beach, led 41 other people in their prescription drug trafficking operation, enabling the operation to obtain 45,000 oxycodone pills from April 2011 to November 2011, according to the DEA.
Some suspects had been charged and arrested before Thursday, when more than 200 officers from 11 agencies fanned out across South Florida and took more than a dozen suspects into custody, the DEA said.
Law enforcement officers planned to keep making arrests until all 45 suspects were apprehended, the DEA said.
The investigation began in August 2011, when the DEA Miami “Pill Mill” tip line received a prescription fraud complaint about prescriptions being written out of Via Domitia pain clinic at 3088 Griffin Road in Dania Beach, the DEA said.
During an investigation, authorities determined that Gross, May, Patton and Ward were recruiting people to fill prescriptions obtained fraudulently from employees at Via Domitia, the DEA said.
The prescription medications obtained by the ring were sold at a street value of $20 to $30 per pill, the DEA said. Authorities suspect that the four leaders made about $3,000 per bottle containing 180 oxycodone pills, the DEA said.
The DEA calls the investigation ongoing, saying additional arrests and charges are pending.
Trouville said authorities’ efforts “are far from done.”
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