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'False front' medical clinics raided for pills

September 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Several healthcare facilities were raided Thursday in the San Fernando Valley. Authorities seized evidence related to an ongoing investigation.

Two people were arrested Friday.

Narcotics investigators call them "false front" medical clinics, set up to be pain-management centers. Investigators say they are nothing but prescription mills.

According to investigators the doctors and the clinics did nothing but prescribe drugs and did no physical exams. They allegedly charged their patients hundreds of dollars for those prescriptions.

"People come here, drug-seeking patients, addicts and so forth come here to get prescriptions for things like OxyContin, promethazine and codeine, drugs that are abused on the street," said "Steve," an undercover L.A. County Sheriff Narcotics investigator.

According to "Dan," a former customer who also doesn't want to be identified, he would pay $200 or $300 for a visit that would only last a few minutes. No medical examination was given.

"You'd see the doctor for about maybe two minutes and he wouldn't examine you. They would urine-test you, but no blood work. Basically you got whatever you wanted, any prescription you wanted," said Dan.

Dan says he isn't a user. He would get the drugs for a friend who sold them.

The pills can be sold on the streets for a lot of money, up to $80 per pill for OxyContin and $3 a pill for Xanax.

The manager of one clinic had $300,000 cash when arrested and 300,000 OxyContin pills in her home.

Investigators say the "false front" clinics also are the home of massive Medicare fraud and billing for treatments that have never been performed.

This investigation started in part, because of a drug death in Ventura.

"We believe that he got a prescription for controlled substances and possibly died of a drug overdose," said Steve.

There are believed to have been several drug-overdose deaths stemming from drugs sold at the clinics. More arrests are expected.

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