Harris County Narcotics Unit is reportedly investigating several Houston area doctor offices and pharmacies for their alleged involvement in a network of “pill mill" schemes. One doctor's office named in the investigation, located at 7300 Harwin Dr. allegedly prescribed the second-highest amount of oxycodone 30mg pills of all locations in the entire State of Texas in 2019, and the ninth highest amount in the nation. The Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section (HCF Unit) leading the enforcement actions in conjunction with U.S. Attorney’s Offices have reported that the illegal actions have allegedly resulted in increased drug trafficking and consumption by approximately 23 million oxycodone, hydrocodone, and carisoprodol pills being illegally prescribed.
The investigation alleges participating doctors, medical professionals, and pharmacies knew the prescriptions had no legitimate medical purpose and were outside the usual course of professional practice. “Crew leaders” pay “Runners” once a month $50 to $100 to allegedly receive filled prescriptions in their names then/or have other individuals who pose as patients fill the illegal prescriptions at Houston-area pharmacies. Establishments are witnessed to have received cash payments for patient services, allegedly permitting anywhere from 50 to 200 patients a day. On certain occasions, the investigations allege that drug dealers and traffickers then divert and distribute the controlled substances to the streets, with some pills being trafficked through Houston (surrounding areas Pasadena, Rosenburg, and Spring, Tx) and across state lines.
“Today’s action shows that the Department of Justice continues to relentlessly pursue criminals, including medical professionals, who peddle opioids for profit, our use of data analytics means that no one engaging in this criminal behavior is invisible. And if you behave like a drug dealer, we are going to find you and treat you like a drug dealer.” - Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The nurses, doctors, and pharmacists who have allegedly misused their positions have also violated the trust of the public they took an oath to serve. Peddling opioids for profit has aided in over 70,000 opioid overdose deaths in the United States. FBI Houston wants Houstonians to know that they remain committed to working alongside our federal, state, and local partners to combat this epidemic and protect our neighborhoods.
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