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Manhattan Doctor Among Dozens Charged With Running Three-State Rx Drug Ring

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TWC News: Manhattan Doctor Among Dozens Charged With Running Three-State Rx Drug Ring
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A Manhattan doctor is among 49 suspects arrested and charged with running what drug agents say was a massive black market network of prescription pills that stretched across three states.

Prosecutors say it started at Itzamna Medical Center in Gramercy.

Investigators say Dr. Hector Castro, seen above, and officer manager Patricia Valera were carrying out two separate prescription-related scams.

Prosecutors say they sold prescriptions for 500,000 oxycodone pills, with a street value of $10 million in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"Their customers and drug associates would fill prescriptions and multiple pharmacies, sometimes 20 in one day. Runners were paid in cash or in pain pills," said Brian Crowell of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division. "In effect, these organized 'Rx crews' paid runners to fill prescriptions, just like heroin traffickers pay their runners to make hand-to-hand sales of bags of heroin on our streets."

Officers also seized 30 guns.

The investigation was sparked by a drug overdose in New Jersey where investigators found a pill bottle with Castro's name.

Prosecutors say Castro and Valera pleaded not guilty at their arraignments and are due back in court next month.

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