Multi agency investigation leads to 33 arrests for RX fraud


POSTED: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 10:57am

UPDATED: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 8:12pm

And seizures of 32,000 pills or dosage units

A 2-year, multi-agency investigation yielded fruitful results in slowing prescription fraud in the El Paso area. Thirty-three people were arrested for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity and/or Prescription Fraud.

The investigators said these were drug trafficking rings that involved anywhere from 2 to 13 people. They noted that there were no doctors arrested in the investigation and that doctors account for about 1% to 3% of those charged nationwide in prescription fraud cases.

The arrested range in age from 21 to 68. Most of the arrests were made at homes across El Paso. Investigators said many times, they're tipped off by pharmacies of possible prescription fraud or unusual behavior.

The prescriptions were mainly opioid narcotic pain relievers like hydrocodone or oxycodone or alprazolam, also called Xanax. The investigation involved more than 300 prescriptions and 32,000 pills or dosage units.

Each person faces a second degree felony which could result in 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The names of the accused as released by the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Public Safety and El Paso District Attorney are as follows:

Allegedly Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity:
Rene Balderrama, 39
Bertha Escalante, 68
Raquel Herrera, 39
Paul Martinez, 35
Daniel Quintero, 33
Miguel Teran, 43

Prescription Fraud Texas Controlled Substances Act:
Ashley Alvarez, 26
Maria Barreras, 55
Aimee Cardenas, 53
Isaac Castillo, 33
Claudia Castro, 28
Veronica Crow, 37
David Finzel, 34
Nancy Garcia, 30
Krystle Garcia, 23
Vanessa Garcia, 30
Mario Gomez, 28
Lilia Leyva, 39
Andy Luna, 21
Ruben Madrid, 23
Salvador Montoya, 31
Omar Nevarez, 37
Monica Ortega, 36
Thomas Payan, 23
Quinn Johnson, 27
Ruben Renteria, 26
Rene Reyes, 32
Carlos Saldana, 25
Jacklyn Salgado, 27
Val Sambrano., 31
Yvette Sanchez, 37
Matthew Soto, 27

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