Updated:BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Prescription drug dealers in Palm Bay paid fake patients to shop doctors for drugs, investigators said Friday. WFTV rode along with SWAT teams during "Operation Overdose."
Fake patients were buying 120 pills at a time at doctors' offices. Drug agents said even former cocaine dealers are turning to prescription drugs because they can make hundreds if not thousands of dollars off them a day, and they can get the drugs from hired patients.
After a four-month investigation, Palm Bay police raided three homes Friday in a round-up of nine people suspected as part of a prescription drug ring.
One after another, they were loaded up to be questioned and sent to jail. Police said many of the suspects were unemployed.
Didier Dorvil denied he had anything to do with the drug ring.
"Any pills that I had in my house belonged to me, prescribed by a doctor," Dorvil said.
Police said the drug dealers are hiring patients and coaching them to get the pills, and sometimes paying for their doctor visits and their prescriptions in exchange for half of the meds.
"These people are getting in the mind frame, 'Well, I'm being prescribed these pills so it's legal,'" an undercover officer explained to WFTV.
He said the prescriptions are for large quantities.
"Roxys" is the street name for oxycodone, an addictive pain medication. Each pill can get $15 or more on the street. Detectives seized thousands of dollars in pills during the raids.
One neighbor said he wasn't surprised to hear about the operation.
"There's been quite a bit of crime in the last six or eight months just in this neighborhood. I'm glad to see it come out," neighbor Phil Page said.
Police said it was just the tip of the iceberg. They said in these cases a lot of the prescriptions were received from doctors outside Brevard County.
There were no doctors arrested or accused of any wrongdoing as part of the bust. Police said all the suspects are facing drug trafficking charges.
The people that were the hired patients are also facing drug trafficking charges.