Manhattan Doctor Behind a $10 Million Drug-Trafficking Ring
Authorities announced that a New York City doctor, Hector Castro, was arrested along with 48 other people for being involved with an interstate drug-trafficking ring that lasted for about two years. The drug smuggling ring involved the pain narcotic, oxycodone and involved several states surrounding the metropolitan area. The doctor, who was in charge of the Itzamna Medical Center in Manhattan, is believed to be one of the leaders of the scheme, but has pleaded non guilty to 39 counts.
The 15-month long investigation started when a New Jersey resident overdosed on oxycodone that was prescribed by a New York doctor, Castro, which was indicated on the pill bottle. The lengthy investigation ended when officials from New York City's special narcotics unit traced the illegal drug activity to Castro's office. They discovered that the office gave out over 4,500 prescriptions, which contributed to over 500,000 pills that were distributed from New Jersey pharmacies. Since the prescriptions were filled within another state, the New York state's health department could not monitor the pills.
The arrest of 49 people included 43 people from Pennsylvania. The authorities also seized a total of 30 guns that were recovered throughout different sites from the three states that were involved. The main contributors were Castro and his office manager, Patricia Valera, according to the officials. Valera was also believed to be running a separate con in which she took Castro's prescription sheets and forged them. She also plead non guilty on the charges presented to her by the state Supreme Court.
When the authorities went through Castro's home, they also found $20,000 worth of cash locked up in a box. Castro is now being held on a $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash, and will appear in court on April 11.