ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Thursday the arrest of 172 individuals -- two were doctors -- and the seizure of more than 20,000 prescription pills in "Operation Pain Killer," an aggressive five-month investigation targeting Central Florida prescription drug traffickers.
The multi-agency operation began Jan. 1 and culminated with a final arrest round up and drug seizures on June 2.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said, These are the street-level dealers who endanger lives by peddling prescription narcotics.
I'm pleased that this investigation neutralized numerous distribution points in Central Florida. There will be follow-up operations to attack this lethal supply chain.
The investigation focused on traffickers in Orange, Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties who sold prescription medications they had illegally obtained by visiting "pill mills" in Central and South Florida.
The majority of the individuals were charged with trafficking in Schedule II narcotics.
During the course of the operation, law enforcement agencies seized large quantities of oxycodone, hydrocodone and alprazolam.
As part of the operation, agents also arrested two local physicians who operated pain management clinics.
Michael Moyer, 59, was charged with two counts of trafficking in hydrocodone, a first-degree felony.
Roman Mosai, 62, was charged with three counts of trafficking in hydrocodone, a first-degree felony.
Bruce Grant, a representative from the Office of Drug Control, said, They are just drug dealers in white coats.
Phil Williamson, director of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, said that Mosai and Moyer are truly merchants of death and despair.
Law enforcement said the clinics have provided painkillers to hundreds of people who lacked medical necessity.
Operation Pain Killer is the most recent example of the statewide anti-pill mill effort I kicked off in January this year, said Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp.
Florida is challenged by widespread prescription drug diversion and abuse, and efforts like Operation Pain Killer demonstrate our collective resolve to significantly reduce the damage this drug abuse is causing to Florida.
According to the 2009 Interim Report by Florida Medical Examiners on Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons, during the first six months of last year, 1,157 people died statewide as a result of prescription drug overdose.
Six Floridians die from a prescription drug overdose each day, the report said.
That’s five times as many deaths as from all illegal drugs combined.
Just today we had yet another overdose on prescription pain medication ... and this is the result, Orange County Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia said.
That report also said from 2003 to 2008, the number of drug overdose deaths in Florida increased by 77 percent, and each one involved at least one prescription drug.
Prescription drugs are becoming more deadly than illegal drugs, Joyce Dawley, an FDLE representative said.
FDLE's Orlando Regional Operations Center coordinated the proactive and focused sweep, partnering with neighboring county drug task forces and multiple other state and federal agencies.
Participating agencies included: the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, Seminole City-County Investigative Bureau, Osceola County Investigative Bureau, Central Florida HIDTA, Drug Enforcement Administration, Orange County Sheriff's Office, Orlando Police Department, Osceola County Sheriff's Office, Lake County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Health, Agency for Health Care Administration, the State Attorney's Offices for the Fifth, Seventh, Ninth and 18th Judicial Circuits, Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud, Attorney General's Prescription Drug Task Force, and the District Nine Medical Examiners Office.
Thursday, June 3, 2010