Police: NYC doctor ran oxycodone smuggling ring
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 9:54 p.m.
NEW YORK — A New York City doctor was charged with running an interstate smuggling ring that trafficked $10 million worth of oxycodone across several states, including Pennsylvania, where the investigation resulted in the largest prescription drug-related mass arrest in the state's history, authorities said on Thursday.
Authorities said 49 people were arrested on Tuesday, including the leaders of two major drug trafficking networks in Pennsylvania, after an undercover 15-month investigation conducted by the city's special narcotics unit.
Dr. Hector Castro, who ran the Itzamna Medical Center in Manhattan, pleaded not guilty to 39 counts of criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance in Manhattan's state Supreme Court.
More than 500,000 pills were dispensed from New Jersey pharmacies based on more than 4,500 prescriptions that came from Castro's office, authorities said. In New York, the state health department cannot track prescriptions that are filled out of state.
The investigation was sparked by a fatal oxycodone overdose in Middlesex, N.J., in 2011. Officials say a pill bottle with Castro's name on it was found at the scene.
Authorities say Castro and his office manager, Patricia Valera, illegally distributed pills in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania during the past two years.
Forty-three people were arrested in Pennsylvania, the state's biggest mass arrest related to prescription drugs, authorities said. Authorities also seized 30 guns in a series of stings in New York and Pennsylvania.
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.
- Average student loan debt at $30K precipice
- NSA can pinpoint cellphone location on a global basis
- Detroit retirees antsy as hit to pensions unclear
- Teen again pleads not guilty in Mass. teacher’s slaying
- LAX shooting suspect makes first court appearance
- Shallow water in Fla. kills whales
- Fertility drugs more likely to lead to multiple births than fertilization techniques
- Finding on face transplants expected to shorten surgeries
- Scientist cited by U.S. bureau gets settlement
- 300,000-year-old DNA muddles evolutionary trail
- Obama says income gap defining U.S. challenge