In a case that probably should have gotten more attention than it did, federal prosecutors took down a major prescription drug trafficking organization this week, indicting Jose Garcia Acosta and 13 other people for selling millions of dollars of the dangerously addictive painkiller oxycodone.
The drug ring sold the pills around 156th Street and Broadway and even transported pills and sold them in New England, where they fetch a high black market price. How extensive was the operation? Charging about $16 per pill, Acosta allegedly made $1 million a month off the sales. His car had more 3,100 pills in it when he was pulled over and arrested on Sunday. Other searches recovered another 6,000 pills.
The question that remained largely unanswered, and is potentially the most troubling, is where they were getting such a massive amount of pills.
All that it said in the various press releases is this: “The bundlers illegally purchase pills from a multitude of sources, including street-level dealers, patients, forgers and other individuals.” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said Acosta tapped into “an elaborate network of prescription drug bundlers.”
Since you can’t really make these drugs at home, it’s apparent that there are either unethical doctors or pharmacies out there who are supplying these kinds of operations.
In January, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said a prescription drug epidemic is running rampant across the state, CBS news reported. Painkiller prescriptions are up 36 percent, while oxycodone prescriptions are up 82 percent. That has to be in some way related to the black market.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 25, 2012