Law enforcement makes another illegal pharma supply chain bust; 2nd in U.S. in 8 days

For the second time in 8 days, law enforcement authorities have charged people with buying drugs illegally and reintroducing them into the legitimate supply chain.

The most recent arrests were reported last Wednesday when Miami-Dade police busted a crime ring of 5 people for allegedly dealing pharmaceuticals, Local10 news reported. The pharmaceuticals, which were obtained illegally in Florida, ended up at legitimate pharmacies out of state, authorities said. Some of the medications allegedly dealt by the ring were for treating cancer and HIV. Others were antipsychotics.

Arrested in the operation last week were Jose Capote, 39; Dax Osle, 41; Yulia Martinez, 31; Rafael Prrats, 61; and the ring leader, who wasn't identified. Some of the pharmaceuticals weren't stored at proper temperatures and had expired, authorities said.

It was the second such bust in just over a week. On May 12, federal authorities said they rounded up nearly three dozen people indicted in a far-ranging scheme in which they allegedly sold $200 million worth of diverted drugs that included blockbusters like Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMY) antipsychotic Abilify, Gilead Sciences' ($GILD) HIV med Truvada and Novartis' ($NVS) cancer drug Gleevec. The feds said the drugs, which often originated from street sales in New York and Miami, were peddled through a series of illegal warehouse operations in California and Minnesota.

Authorities have broken up other similar operations. Last year, they obtained guilty pleas from Texas couple Charles Jeffrey Edwards and Brenda Elise Edwards, who they said ran a fake drug wholesaling business that sold nearly $60 million worth of drugs obtained off the street. In 2012 they broke up an operation that operated out of South Carolina through Altec Medical. Federal authorities say that operation sold about $55 million worth of drugs that had been diverted, then repackaged and given fake paperwork.

Last year they got guilty pleas from a number of people tied to Arlington, VA-based Gallant Pharma International, which bought foreign-made Botox and cancer drugs on the black market and sold them into the U.S. supply chain.

- see the Local10 story