Busted N.Y. pill pushers hail from all walks of life
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 6:32 p.m.
NEW YORK — The Craigslist ad offered black-market Percocet pills for sale but warned potential customers: “No LE please.” Meaning: No law enforcement.
Like that made a difference.
The 40-year-old man accused of placing the ad was among 21 people arrested in an attempt by the New York Police Department to make an example out of some of the smallest of small-time drug dealers: students, young professionals and others who clean out the medicine cabinet and then are brazen enough — and foolish enough — to offer the pills for up to $20 a pop over the Internet.
“Whether the drug deal occurs on the street corner or on the Internet, it's a crime,” Bridget Brennan, special narcotics prosecutor for New York City, said on Thursday in a statement announcing the arrests.
Undercover narcotics investigators answered the ads and ended up buying handfuls of powerful prescription painkillers and other pills for a few hundred dollars, typically in broad daylight and in public settings such as coffee shops, Penn Station or Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.
Some of the sellers turned out to be run-of-the mill drug dealers also peddling cocaine and heroin, police said. But many were more mainstream: Among those arrested were a New York University graduate student, a financial adviser and a 62-year-old woman who works as a freelance photographer.
The pills came from the sellers' own medications or were stolen from relatives, friends and co-workers, authorities said. Some of the dealers were out to make a quick buck — even though their backgrounds would suggest they didn't need the money.
The arrests occur as law enforcement agencies around the country battle a surge in illegal sales of highly addictive painkillers such as Percocet and Roxycodone and, increasingly, attention-deficit drugs such as Adderall — transactions that rival the cocaine and heroin trade both in volume and as a public health hazard.
Because the drugs have legal medical uses, they carry less of a stigma than illegal narcotics. After they were arrested, some of the sellers claimed they didn't know what they were doing was a crime. But investigators don't buy it.
“You'd have to be living under a rock to not know it's illegal,” Brennan said.
Despite the enforcement effort, the advertising continued unabated on Thursday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Students prepare for robotics competitions
- Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
- Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
- Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto proposes $16M for schools to boost population
- Elizabeth Forward school director accused in coin, jewelry theft
- Primary challenges revealed
- Book take fictionalized look at famous McKeesport Kennedy-Nixon debate
- Can Pirates star outfielder McCutchen be even better in 2014?