A $77 million drug operation was brought to a halt recently in Manhattan, NY. Doctor Rogelio Lucas, 77, and his wife Lydia, 79, were both arrested and charged with conspiracy and drug charges for their involvement in one of the largest pill mill operations in the U.S.
Pill Mill Operation Shut Down
According to Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, the elderly drug-dealing couple has been involved in the drug business since 2009. Rogelio dealt with well-known drug lords and supposedly authorized over 23,600 prescriptions- well over 3 million of them being for oxycodone.
The elderly couple had approximately 50 people working for them as “runners,” which meant these people spoke to drug ring members and got prescriptions regularly. They would have to go to the pharmacy, have prescriptions filled, and give the drug dealers the pills. Lydia handled the planning by taking care of all scheduling and overall business operations. She would collect all the money for the prescriptions, as discovered by Manhattan prosecutor, Ryan Sakacs.
Rogelio and Lydia are both charged with conspiracy and drug charges, and are being held on a $500,000 bond each. According to the couple’s lawyer, Liam Malanaphy, their eight children claimed they would come together and “scramble to come up with some bail” to provide the appropriate assistance for their parents.
Nearby Tenants Speak Out
Locals living near Rogelio’s office on 215 W. 101st Street weren’t surprised to hear about the charges and claim that his practice was suspicious early on. “He had all these handwritten notes all over his door that said, ‘Please do not wait outside the door,’” commented a woman who lives near his office. “I thought if my doctor had notes like that, I wouldn’t want to see him.”
Another tenant, 68-year-old Stephan Greenberg, expressed his concerns to authorities in the past because he noticed Rogelio would “send the doorman on frequent errands,” and the property wouldn’t end up getting watched. Greenberg added that Rogelio was “nasty” and anticipates him to be penalized by serving his time for the crimes he committed with his wife.
Pill mill operations like the one Rogelio was involved in are not a new trend. Writing out illegal prescriptions is unfortunately a growing and prevalent problem in society. Faulty medical practices must be shut down, including penalties for doctors who are involved in questionable schemes. In light of the nation’s drug epidemic, addressing these matters are crucial. The reality is that doctors should be writing out prescriptions to patients who truly need medication instead of peddling drugs to dealers for profit.
Individuals may stereotype addiction as looking a particular way, when the reality is that times are changing; the disease can manifest in a multitude of forms. The standard image of an addict is no longer a homeless person on the street buying illegal drugs. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise and it’s deadly. Understanding this can help to break the stigma on addiction and put an end to pill mill schemes where doctors are involved in underhanded illegal activity.
Are you hooked on prescription drugs and longing to recover? Contact The Watershed for help today. Call now at 1-866-603-4087 to begin learning how to live clean and sober.Tags: doctor shopping, illegal drug scam, pill mills