Feds nail 2 more in scheme that diverted illegal drugs into U.S. supply chain

The FDA and DOJ keep banging away on the prosecutions of more than 30 people arrested for their alleged parts in a huge scheme that bought drugs off the street, repackaged them and put them back into the U.S. supply chain.

The DOJ said that Ricardo Alfredo Jurado, 59, of Miami Beach, FL, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The feds said that Jurado was one of the people who funneled illegally obtained drugs to David Miller and his company, Minnesota Independent Cooperative (MIC).

In May, authorities alleged in an indictment that Miller and MIC were buying drugs from a network of operators in Florida, New York and California, who often bought them from patients looking for cash. The drugs were then repackaged and sold to wholesalers and retail pharmacies in nearly 40 states. Miller has been accused in an indictment of selling nearly $395 million worth of drugs between 2010 and 2014, much of it in Ohio.

Last week, federal authorities reported guilty pleas from men in California and New Jersey for essentially the same thing. When arrests were first made in May, authorities rounded up 33 suspects.

In a separate indictment in California, Miller and others were accused of being part of a sprawling "criminal enterprise" involved in a massive check and bank fraud operation and in obtaining illegal tax refunds, while some of the players were accused of trying to arrange a "hit," the feds said.

Authorities have broken up other similar operations, which they say are stealing money all along the supply chain from legitimate drugmakers and wholesalers while putting patients at risk. The dangers when drugs are diverted are that there is no way of knowing their provenance or whether they have been stored properly or are expired and so become unsafe or ineffective, or if they may be counterfeits.

- here's the DOJ release