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 December 21st, 2007  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara announces results in three-month prescription fraud sweep
In St. Lucie County, a three-month operation targeting prescription fraud offenders has resulted in 117 criminal charges against 37 defendants, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

“In recent months, we have noticed an increase in prescription medicine abuse and resultant drug overdoses,” Sheriff Mascara said Dec. 21. “As a result, I directed our detectives to initiate a three-part operation for the safety of the public, the integrity of the prescription drug system and to deter those considering trying to fraudulently obtain prescription drugs.

“There are many drugs which physicians can prescribe under carefully supervised conditions to treat documented medical conditions,” Sheriff Mascara said. “Our obligation as law enforcement officers is reinforce the good faith efforts of physicians and pharmacists, and the vast majority of their patients who do not abuse the system. It’s a shame that a determined minority of people try exploit this system.”

In the first stage of the investigation, detectives targeted prescription drug abusers who obtained medications by doctor shopping or some other fraudulent means.

In the second stage, investigators went after dealers who sold prescription medications on the black market. Sheriff Mascara said the first two parts of the investigation concluded this week in a roundup that led to 33 people being arrested on 117 warrants and 13 probable cause charges.

The third phase of the operation continues, as investigators work to track the ultimate sources of the medications obtained by abusers. Sheriff Mascara said that most of the drugs come from outside St. Lucie County. Sheriff Mascara said: “Our Sheriff’s detectives are working with their counterparts in other agencies in the third phase of the operation to combat the flow of illegally obtained drugs into St. Lucie County.”

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