A man known to have championed health care for Latinos has been arrested for allegedly pushing $10 million worth of the highly addictive drug Oxycodone.
Dr. Hector Castro and his office manager Patricia Valera were arrested Tuesday for their involvement in a four-state-wide drug operation, which involved armed thugs in two different drug rings over an 18-month period. In addition, Castro used Itzamna Medical Center in Gramercy Park, a health center Castro founded in 2001 to provide better health care to the local Latino population, to distribute the drugs.
Investigators were able to pinpoint Castro after a New Jersey man died of an overdose in December of 2011 because of a bottle of prescription pills found in his residence that were prescribed by Castro.
"This is just drug dealing while wearing a lab coat," said Brian Crowell, a special agent with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. "It's no different from a street hood pitching bags of heroin."
In addition to Castro and his assistant, authorities announced Thursday that cops arrested 47 other people in the Bronx, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in an extensive, multi-state sting operation.
Authorities explained that undercover cops were able to find out Castro’s patients were able to purchase Oxycodone with only a name, date of birth and $125 cash. Castro allegedly sold prescriptions to as many as 100 different people, which included drug runners.
Valera’s involvement included her selling prescriptions to customers in Pennsylvania. Thinking she wouldn’t get caught, she took to Facebook to show off all her expensive purchases. Valera has been charged 464 times over for stealing 155 prescriptions sheets and selling them for $500 each.
Castro was charged with selling prescriptions illegally. About $200,000 in cash was confiscated from Castro’s apartment after his arrest, as well as medical records and computer equipment.