Karl Gross and Troy Patton of Palm Beach County, Florida, along with 17 others, were arrested in a pill mill operation Thursday, news sources report. The arrested parties are accused of filling out fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone and Percocet, then selling the drugs on the streets. An indictment filed with the Palm Beach County State’s Attorney’s Office say 45 defendants were involved with the scheme, but only 17 have been arrested so far. It is not yet known whether any of the arrested parties has hired a lawyer.
Among the arrested are Karl Gross, 31; Troy Patton, 42; Lorenzo May, 37; Jermaine Ward, 30; Betty Guillaume, 59; and Shakella Quinn, 25, all of Boynton Beach. They were each booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on multiple charges, including obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and trafficking in oxycodone. It is unclear whether any of the defendants have qualified for bail.
According to reports, detectives first learned of the drug ring in August 2011, when a pharmacist in Boynton Beach reported what he believed was a series of fraudulent prescriptions. The DEA and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office began looking into the alleged fraud and discovered the alleged large-scale operation.
Detectives learned that the prescriptions originated from the recently closed Dania Beach Via Domitia pain clinic, reports say. During the investigation detectives questioned the clinic’s doctor, Astrid Febre, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Febre said she had not signed nor authorized any of the fraudulent prescriptions found during the investigation.
Reports say detectives identified Gross, Patton, May, and Ward as the leaders of the drug ring. As part of the operation, the defendants allegedly fraudulently obtained prescriptions from Via Domitia and paid conspirators Guillaume and Quinn, among others, to have them filled. The four defendants then marketed the drugs on the streets from as much as $20 per pill, reports say. In all, investigators say the group took in approximately 45,000 oxycodone pills between from April 2011 to November 2011.
During the investigation, Gross reportedly admitted that he had received as many as three prescriptions from Via Domitia despite never seeing the doctor. The man says he filled out prescriptions for more than a hundred Oxycodone pills, sources say. Febre denied authorizing the prescriptions.
In other news, Kenneth Lent of Broward County died during a routine arrest this past week, reports say. Lent, 41, was arrested after he was spotted stabbing the air outside of a gas station; for reasons not yet known, Lent died while police attempted to place him into their squad car.
Reports say the incident occurred outside of a BP Gas Station in Broward County. One of the station’s clerks reportedly spotted Lent making stabbing motions outside of the store and called in the police. When officers arrived, Lent climbed into his truck to smoke an unknown substance from a pipe, reports say. He then reportedly took a drink from a Gatorade bottle.
Officers were able to talk Lent into exiting the truck, but the man had difficulty walking to the officers’ squad car. The officers placed Lent on the ground and began resuscitation; paramedics later took Lent to the Broward Health North, where he was pronounced dead. An investigation is ongoing. The cause of death is thus far unknown.