It's no secret that America has a drug problem. While street drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine often come to mind when discussing the war on drugs, there seem to be just as many problems with the abuse of prescription drugs. In fact, many observers believe that heroin has become popular again in recent years because people first start abusing opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet.
Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have been working extra hard in recent years to capture and prosecute individuals who engage in pharmaceutical diversion. This phrase can have a few shades of meaning, but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration defines diversion as the recreational use of prescription drugs.
A recent indictment is a high-profile example of alleged pharmaceutical diversion. According to news sources, three California men and a Minnesota-based company engaged in a years-long scheme of purchasing prescription drugs from unlicensed and illegal sources, producing false documents showing that the drugs were legitimate and then selling those drugs to pharmacies and wholesalers. Some of the illegally manufactured drugs were reportedly purchased from sources here in California.
The charges in the 12-count indictment include mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to make false statements and "conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs without a license."
Many prescription drug criminal cases are related to individuals who illegally obtain legally manufactured prescription drugs and then sell them on the street. This case appears to be a nearly opposite version of that scheme.
In all, authorities say, the Minnesota company and the California defendants managed to sell prescription drugs (to pharmacies and wholesalers) worth about $393 million.
As we mentioned earlier in the post, prosecutors are aggressively going after cases of alleged pharmaceutical diversion. Because these schemes are often large and complex, however, not every player charged with involvement may have actually been involved or were only marginally involved. For this and other reasons, anyone facing diversion or other drug crimes charges should seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: E-News Park Forest, "Three California Men and Minnesota Corporation Indicted in Nationwide Prescription Drug Diversion Scheme," May 7, 2015