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New York Doctor Arrested for Leading $10 Million Oxycodone Drug Trafficking Scheme

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A New York doctor has been charged as the ringleader of a scheme to distribute $10 million in Oxycodone pills. Officials allege that the doctors did, indeed, distribute about half a million Oxycodone pills illegally in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, fueling the addiction of an unspecified number of people.

Dr. Hector Castro, his office manager Patricia Valera and four dozen others were charged with running an intricate drug trafficking ring between August 2009 and February 2013. Officials say that New Jersey pharmacies dispensed nearly 500,000 pills between September 2011 and February 2013 based on thousands of prescriptions written by Dr. Castro, while New York pharmacies dispensed approximately 75,000 pills between August 2009 and January 2013. Officials first took notice of the large number of Oxycodone prescriptions originating from Dr. Castro's office when an individual died of an overdose in Middlesex, NJ and investigators discovered a prescription bottle with Dr. Castro's name on the label. New York State does have a Prescription Monitoring Program, but because so many of the prescriptions were filled in New Jersey, the scheme did not fully show up on their radar for a long time.

Castro faces 39 counts of criminal sales of a prescription for a controlled substance. Investigators also point out that other illegal behaviors are closely related to drug trafficking; for example, 41 members of Pennsylvania "drug crews" selling Oxycodone on the street were arrested in relation to Dr. Castro's scheme and 28 firearms were confiscated at the time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that prescription drug abuse is an epidemic, with an estimated 100 people dying each day from overdoses.