Thursday, October 29, 2009
7 News Investigations: Pill Mills Update
An update now on a 7 News Investigation suspect after suspect hauled off in handcuffs as police make a big bust in a pill smuggling ring. It's a pill pipeline that stretches from South Florida all the way to Kentucky. Cops are calling it "Operation Flamingo Road" and 500 people are under arrest. Seven's Carmel Cafiero has the story.
WSVN -- Entire families even a mayor's son were picked up by authorities in Kentucky.
Reporter: "Do you have anything to say Mr. Kirby?"
Mr. Kirby didn't and neither did any of the people taken into custody by state and federal authorities at this location.
The arrests are all about prescription pain pills and a pipeline that exists from South Florida pill mills to Kentucky.
Carmel Cafiero: "Aren't there doctors in Kentucky?"
Kentucky man. "I don't know."
As Seven News first showed you, people are coming here by the hundreds of thousands to get pills from South Florida pain clinics, which are also called pill mills. Some of the drugs are used right here. The rest they take back to sell at home.
Billy Reynolds: "We're tired of the Florida pipeline."
Kentucky media reports indicate arrests in about a dozen eastern Kentucky counties including Rock castle. The county attorney told me by phone 24 people have been indicted so far.
Billy Reynolds: "We're not done. We're just getting started. We've got a lot more work to do so I expect more arrests to be made."
Billy Reynolds: "I don't know when that will be, but I hope it is sooner rather than later."
Before we talked, Reynolds watched this video on the internet from one of our investigative reports.
Billy Reynolds: "To be honest with you, it made me sick to my stomach."
It shows three young men from his state that we tracked from a pain clinic to a pharmacy. We caught them on camera snorting and shooting up what appeared to be pain pills. They denied it.
Carmel Cafiero: "We have pictures of you?"
Carmel Cafiero: "We have pictures of you shooting up."
Passenger: "No you don't."
Carmel Cafiero: "Yeah, I'm sorry we do. So all of you are here from Kentucky for what to buy pills and then bring them back home."
Carmel Cafiero: "All of you."
Driver: "I'm here to get a pop."
The Kentucky crackdown has implications for Florida's pain clinic business and the doctors as well. Prosecutor Reynolds says federal authorities have the people here who are writing the prescriptions for the highly addictive pain pills under the microscope.
Billy Reynolds: "I think they're taking names and getting ready to kick some butt."
Carmel Cafiero: "The Kentucky sweep also includes 36 federal indictments for charges that range from distribution of controlled substances to money laundering. The US Attorney in Eastern Kentucky says it is also going after a million dollars in suspect's assets."