October 14, 2012
Online Resale Of Prescription Drugs Leads To Arrests In New York
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Twenty-one people have been arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD) for selling prescription painkillers over the Internet, law enforcement officials announced on Thursday.
The arrests come after an 11 month investigation known as "Operation Dot Com," in which undercover NYPD officers responded to Craigslist advertisements offering the drugs, according to New York Magazine reporter Joe Coscarelli.
Officers made a total of 63 purchases dating back to last December as part of the operation, buying $19,000 worth of prescription pills and more than $10,000 worth of cocaine, he added.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that one of the arrests involved a 40-year-old man offering Percocet pills for sale and who had requested that no "LE" (law enforcement) respond to the advertisement.
Some of those arrested were regular drug dealers, while others included a graduate student, a young financial professional, and a 62-year-old freelance photographer, the wire service said.
The arrests were part of the NYPD's attempt to "make an example out of some of the smallest of small-time drug dealers" -- those "who clean out the medicine cabinet and then are brazen enough -- and foolish enough -- to offer the pills for up to $20 a pop over the Internet."
Narcotics investigators who responded to the advertisements "ended up buying handfuls of powerful prescription painkillers and other pills for a few hundred dollars, typically in broad daylight and in public settings such as coffee shops, Penn Station or Washington Square Park," the AP explained.
The arrests come at a time when law enforcement groups throughout the US find themselves combating the increasing sale of prescription medication. These usually extremely addictive drugs, which include the likes of Percocet, Roxycodone, and other painkillers, as well as other medications, such as the ADHD drug Adderall, are now almost as highly sought after as heroin and cocaine in the illicit drug trade, claims a report published by CBS News on Friday.
"Because the drugs have legal medical uses, they carry less of a stigma than illegal narcotics," the AP said. "After they were arrested, some of the sellers claimed they didn't know what they were doing was a crime. But investigators don't buy it."
"Whether the drug deal occurs on the street corner or on the Internet, it's a crime," New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said, according to Coscarelli. "You'd have to be living under a rock to not know it's illegal."