News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Warren Rivera
Number: (504) 840-1070

Operation Shop-A-Doc Nets 17 Arrests in New Orleans

MAR 27 -- DEA Special Agent in Charge Jimmy Fox III and Louisiana State Police Superintendent Michael Edmonson announced today the culmination of a five-month investigation entitled “Operation Shop-A-Doc,” which resulted in the arrests of 17 suspects throughout New Orleans. Agents are still searching for six additional suspects.

The suspects were arrested in Jefferson, Orleans, and Saint Tammany Parishes during an early morning raid led by the DEA New Orleans Tactical Diversion Squad and the Louisiana State Police.

Operation Shop-A-Doc was initiated by the New Orleans DEA Tactical Diversion Squad and the Louisiana State Police last October. This investigation targeted people who were forging prescriptions primarily to obtain Hydrocodone, Xanax (Alprazolam) and Soma (Carisoprodol). The combined total amount of drugs obtained over the past year by the 23 suspects is 91,214 dosage units with a combined street value of over $1.7 million.

“This operation exemplifies the success of the task force concept, and we believe the continued combined efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies along with the recently implemented Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) will significantly reduce the ever-growing problem of prescription drug abuse” stated Mr. Fox.

Louisiana State Police Superintendent Michael Edmonson stated: “The illegal use, sales and diversion of legally prescribed drugs is the latest challenge to law enforcement in the continuing war on drugs.”

It is estimated that over 7 million persons in the USA abuse prescription drugs. This is more than the number of persons who abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants, combined.

The PMP was enacted to assist in combating the problem of “doctor-shopping.” The program monitors the distribution of scheduled narcotics to specific patients and prohibits filling prescriptions early or over-prescribing. The PMP has already had an impact on a Louisiana based pharmacy that was catering to addicts.

Other participating agencies in the operation include: the New Orleans Police Department, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Gulf Coast HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Task Force. The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad has full-time members from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, Westwego Police Department and the Kenner Police Department.

The suspects all face state charges of L.R.S. 40:979/971B (1) (b) and L.R.S. 40: 971B (1) (b) Attempt to illegally obtain and illegally obtained C.D.S. by Fraud, Deceit, Subterfuge, Misrepresentation or Theft, and L.R.S. 40:967C, Illegal Possession of Scheduled II C.D.S.