Department of Health - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Department of Health

Posted:
A former employee Florida Department of Health employee said he was instructed not to cooperate with law enforcement in an e-mail sent by his superiors. A former employee Florida Department of Health employee said he was instructed not to cooperate with law enforcement in an e-mail sent by his superiors.
Former Florida Department of Health employee Christopher Knox (left) and his former supervisor Frank Figueredo (right) Former Florida Department of Health employee Christopher Knox (left) and his former supervisor Frank Figueredo (right)
WSVN -- -

Christopher Knox was an investigator for the Department of Health in Miami-Dade. He says he did his job too well and was fired.

Christopher Knox: "The Department of Health has basically just failed in its mission to protect the citizens of Florida."

Frank Figueredo was his boss. He says he resigned rather than get fired for backing Knox.

Frank Figueredo: "Chris was always dead on. We called him McGruff the Crime Dog. That was his internal name, McGruff. So any time McGruff went snooping, he found."

One of the last cases Knox worked was a pharmacy, Moron Drug & Discount on Southwest Eighth Street in Miami.

Christopher Knox: "I independently developed some information that a drug trafficking organization had been creating counterfeit oxycodone prescriptions."

He gave the information to police, and as a result, pharmacist Oneida Mercado-Sanchez and owner William Clero were arrested and charged with trafficking. Their cases are currently moving through the courts.

According to the arrest report, they were responsible for fraudulent prescriptions for more than 100,000 oxycodone pills. But Knox says he was ordered not to cooperate with law enforcement on that case, or any other.

Carmel Cafiero: "But if you're acting in a regulatory capacity and you find evidence of a criminal activity, isn't that an obligation for you to turn it over to law enforcement?"

Chris Knox: "Absolutely. That is in the Department of Health's manual."

Carmel Cafiero: "And that's what you've been told not to do?"

Chris Knox: "And that's what I've been told not to do."

Knox says he was sent an e-mail. It was from an area supervisor with copies to top brass in Tallahassee. In part it reads, "You are to stop all communication with the State Attorney's Office ... we do not take direction from the State Attorney's Office or law enforcement."

Chris Knox: "To my knowledge, I was the only person that had received an order or memo like this, and I basically deemed this to be an illegal order."

Both Knox and Figueredo say the order delayed the Moron case.

Ed Griffith, Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office: "A criminal investigation about Oxycontin -- which has killed many people in this state -- a criminal investigation into such a matter should be a priority of the Health Department."

I showed Ed Griffith, the spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, the Knox e-mail.

Ed Griffith: "Unfortunately, when you see some kind of paperwork or response or anything like that, that would really indicate a lack of willingness to cooperate. It's shocking."

Figueredo says, before Knox was fired, he was forbidden to even enter a pharmacy.

Frank Figueredo: "I was told as his supervisor to tell him, 'You cannot go into a pharmacy. You are not allowed to go into a pharmacy.'"

Carmel Cafiero: "But that's what he did best."

Frank Figueredo: "Not only is that what he did best, that's what needed to be done. We were getting information that there was fraud at these pharmacies."

The Florida Department of Health refused requests for an on-camera interview. In an e-mail we were told, "It is not the policy of DOH, nor has it ever been, to prohibit DOH investigators from participating or cooperating with law enforcement on an investigation." And that, "There was no such order preventing a DOH investigator from cooperating with law enforcement."

Then why the memo to Knox ordering the opposite?

Carmel Cafiero: "We never did get an answer to that. Meanwhile, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office says both Knox and Figueredo, saying prosecutors considered them to be 'highly skilled and highly aggressive.' Carmel Cafiero, 7News."

IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE:

Miami-Dade: 305-627-CLUE

Broward: 954-921-CLUE

E-mail: clue@wsvn.com

  • Help Me HowardMore>>

  • Don't Sign For Car

    Don't Sign For Car

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:07:22 GMT
    It sounds OK. You sign the paperwork so someone else can get a car after they promise to make the payments. What can go wrong? They stop paying, and now guess who is in hot water? It's why one good hearted woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    It sounds OK. You sign the paperwork so someone else can get a car after they promise to make the payments. What can go wrong? They stop paying, and now guess who is in hot water? It's why one good hearted woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Can't Help Kids Learn to Swim

    Can't Help Kids Learn to Swim

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:37 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:37:03 GMT
    It's part of being a parent: teaching your kids to ride a bike, to play sports, to swim. But how would you feel if you were told, "Stop teaching your child to swim?" When it happened to one South Florida father, he was stunned, and turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser for some answers.
    It's part of being a parent: teaching your kids to ride a bike, to play sports, to swim. But how would you feel if you were told, "Stop teaching your child to swim?" When it happened to one South Florida father, he was stunned, and turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser for some answers.
  • Found Savings Bonds, Can't Find Owner

    Found Savings Bonds, Can't Find Owner

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:57 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:57:35 GMT
    It's what some people dream about: finding an envelope filled with money. One South Florida woman did find it in a parking lot, but she wasn't dreaming of riches. She was determined to find the owner. She couldn't, so she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    It's what some people dream about: finding an envelope filled with money. One South Florida woman did find it in a parking lot, but she wasn't dreaming of riches. She was determined to find the owner. She couldn't, so she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • 7News InvestigationMore>>

  • Captain of Controversy

    Captain of Controversy

    Capt. Francesco SchettinoCapt. Francesco Schettino
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
  • Till Death Do Us Part

    Till Death Do Us Part

    Thursday, November 7 2013 11:54 PM EST2013-11-08 04:54:26 GMT
    Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up. Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up.
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
  • Blackwater Fever

    Blackwater Fever

    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As...
    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As Patrick...
  • Bite with BelkysMore>>

  • Cauli-Polonaise from HaVen South Beach

    Cauli-Polonaise from HaVen South Beach

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:59:52 GMT
    You don't need meat on the plate to have a delicious and satisfying meal. A hearty vegetarian dish is on the menu tonight, as we grab a Bite With Belkys.
    You don't need meat on the plate to have a delicious and satisfying meal. A hearty vegetarian dish is on the menu tonight, as we grab a Bite With Belkys.
  • Chicken Meatballs and Brussels Sprouts from Fork and Balls

    Chicken Meatballs and Brussels Sprouts from Fork and Balls

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:55:17 GMT
    Meatballs are a great comfort food, but they're not always made with ground beef. We're going to learn how to make meatballs with ground chicken, delicious and easy too.
    Meatballs are a great comfort food, but they're not always made with ground beef. We're going to learn how to make meatballs with ground chicken, delicious and easy too.
  • Grilled Pork Tenderloin/Brazaviva

    Grilled Pork Tenderloin/Brazaviva

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:53 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:53:15 GMT
    The Brazilians may have tanked in the World Cup but are winners when it comes to great food. Particularly their succulent grilled meats. That's what's cooking tonight as we grab a Bite with Belkys.
    The Brazilians may have tanked in the World Cup but are winners when it comes to great food. Particularly their succulent grilled meats. That's what's cooking tonight as we grab a Bite with Belkys.
  • Carmel on the CaseMore>>

  • Taxing Trouble

    Taxing Trouble

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:38 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:38:09 GMT
    WSVN -- By this time of year, most of us have paid our taxes. Some of us have even had refunds. But what happens if a tax preparer made a mistake on your return? Here's Carmel Cafiero with a special assignment report on who pays the price for "Taxing Trouble."
    WSVN -- By this time of year, most of us have paid our taxes. Some of us have even had refunds. But what happens if a tax preparer made a mistake on your return? Here's Carmel Cafiero with a special assignment report on who pays the price for "Taxing Trouble."
  • South Florida Doctor Sued

    South Florida Doctor Sued

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:56 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:56:31 GMT
    7News has learned a South Florida doctor who is already being sued for inappropriately touching a patient, is now being investigated by police for the same allegation. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case with a 7News exclusive.
    7News has learned a South Florida doctor who is already being sued for inappropriately touching a patient, is now being investigated by police for the same allegation. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case with a 7News exclusive.
  • BADge Behavior: Miami-Dade Police officer cuts a deal after being accused of stealing gas from the county

    BADge Behavior: Miami-Dade Police officer cuts a deal after being accused of stealing gas from the county

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:15 AM EDT2014-07-23 04:15:18 GMT
    Former Miami-Dade Police Officer Rose StabioFormer Miami-Dade Police Officer Rose Stabio
    WSVN -- There is one less police officer in South Florida tonight. She has resigned in disgrace after being caught stealing gas. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
    WSVN -- There is one less police officer in South Florida tonight. She has resigned in disgrace after being caught stealing gas. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.