Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Operation Pill Popper II Cracks Down On Prescription Drug Trafficking in the Tampa Bay Florida Area

St. Petersburg Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses the recent multiagency operation to crack down on Prescription Drug Trafficking in the Tampa Bay area.


Across the Tampa Bay area law enforcement agencies (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, St. Petersburg Police, Clearwater Police, Largo Police, and the Tampa office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency) recently rounded up 38 people charged with illegally obtaining or selling oxycodone.  Operation Pill Popper II is a continuation of Operation Pill Popper that started in February of this year and was targeting 175 individuals on 375 separate charges.

Tampa Bay Florida holds the unfortunate title as one of the top metro areas for Prescription Drug & Pill Trafficking.  In fact, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) refers to Tampa as “ground zero” for internet diversion (illegal buying and selling, trafficking, and doctor shopping) of pharmaceuticals (prescription drugs, pills).  The DEA is focused on investigations of diversion of hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin®) and oxycodone (e.g. OxyContin®) as well as Benzodiapezines (such as Xanax® and its generic alprazolam), and methadone.

Why This Matters To You:

Many people are ensnarled in the web of Prescription Drug Trafficking unwittingly.  In some cases professionals in doctors’ offices including Nurses and Office Managers, or other Health Care Professionals are targeted because law enforcement usually cannot target the physician as doctors in the State of Florida are legally allowed to prescribe controlled substances.  Those with serious drug addictions are often found with amounts of controlled substances that qualify under Florida law as Prescription Drug Trafficking.  Most often the quantities are simply enough to support their addiction and should more appropriately be charged as possession.  Further, patients who visit Pain Clinics may be unknowingly involved in what law enforcement determines is Drug Trafficking.

If you are a Tampa Bay health care professional, doctor’s office staff, nurse, or medical doctor, Operation Pill Popper is significant in that it opens the possibility that you may be targeted and prosecuted for your involvement in providing prescription drugs.  Those receiving prescription drugs are also targets of Operation Pill Popper including individuals afflicted with prescription drug addiction and attendees to local area Pain Clinics.

Operation Pill Popper is an ongoing investigation as law enforcement believes that they have just scratched the surface of the problem.

What To Do Next:

If you have been arrested for Drug Trafficking or Prescription Drug Trafficking, contact a St. Petersburg Prescription Drug Trafficking Attorney to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help and has specific knowledge and experience in defending Drug Trafficking or Prescription Drug Trafficking offenders throughout Pinellas County and the entire Tampa Bay, FL Area (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Bradenton, Manatee, and Sarasota).