Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Carmel on the Case: Oxy Alley
The South Florida pill mill business has taken a big hit and authorities would be delighted if it is fatal.
Dozens have been indicted in connection with the operation of pain clinics owned and operated by Chris George and his twin brother, Jeff.
Authorities said the clinics distributed 20 million pills and made $40 million. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies worked on the operation, called "Oxy Alley."
John Gilles, Federal Bureau of Investigation: "As a result of today's takedown, we have dismantled the nation's largest criminal organization that was illegally distributing pain killers and steroids."
Chris George operated "American Pain," which did business from several South Florida locations.
At all of them, 7 News documented people shooting up in the parking lots.
Carmel Cafiero: "We have pictures of people snorting, shooting up in this parking lot after coming out of your clinic. What do you have to say about what's going on here?"
Chris George: "I don't believe you're right."
Carmel Cafiero: "That's all you have to say?"
Dr. Cynthia Cadet worked at "American Pain."
Authorities say she ordered hundreds of thousands of pain pills.
Carmel Cafiero: "Can you explain to me why you can justify a half million pills in one year?"
Cadet is one of thirteen doctors who ended up in handcuffs and facing charges they illegally distributed pain pills.
Doctors at the busy clinics reportedly saw as many as 500 patients a day.
Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. Attorney, Southern District Of Florida: "These unscrupulous doctors who took an oath to save lives instead pose a public danger of dispensing thousands of dangerous and inappropriate prescriptions."
Many of those indicted surrendered at FBI headquarters.
The crimes they are accused of also include the illegal distribution of steroids, racketeering and money laundering, to name a few.
A Palm Beach doctor and the owner of the clinic that hired him have also been charged with murder, a first in a drug overdose death.
Ric Bradshaw, Palm Beach County Sheriff: "So here's a really short message for everybody that's involved in this: You deal. They die. You're done."
Clearly, law enforcement has taken aim at the pill mill menace.