Texas Man Arrested for South Florida Prescription Drug Diversion Scheme

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Commissioner Gerald Bailey and Attorney General Bill McCollum today announce the arrest of an individual involved in a prescription drug diversion scheme operating out of South Florida and responsible for trafficking millions of dollars worth of contraband prescription pharmaceuticals. Alex Oria, 53, of Missouri City, Texas was charged with racketeering, conspiracy to RICO, organized scheme to defraud, trafficking in contraband legend pharmaceuticals, conspiracy to traffic in contraband legend pharmaceuticals, purchase of legend drugs from unauthorized persons, and money laundering.

The investigation began in September 2008 as a spin-off investigation of Operation Stone Cold, a long-term racketeering investigation by FDLE involving the illicit secondary pharmaceutical market. To date, the investigation has resulted in more than 100 arrests nationwide since its inception in 2002.

Agents allege that Oria was involved in an ongoing multi-state racketeering enterprise that purchased, cleaned off prior pharmacy labels, and resold millions of dollars worth of contraband legend pharmaceuticals purchased from street sources in South Florida. The drugs involved include: Neupogen, Procrit, Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa, Trizivir, Combivir, Plavix, Lexapro, Isentress, Levimir, Kaletra, Norvir, Actos, and others.

Agents allege Oria utilized check cashing establishments to hide the true source of the illicit profits and to launder the funds of the illicit enterprise including La Bamba Check Cashing, located in Miami, and other check cashing establishments. Oria’s co-conspirators used fraudulent identification at one of the check cashing establishments to aid in the money laundering scheme. Oria, who acted as the main broker for the illicitly obtained product, enlisted sub-brokers and other business owners to move into the main stream of commerce pharmaceuticals that were previously dispensed, expired pursuant to manufacturers’ standards, or stolen.

After collecting the pharmaceuticals from illicit sources, they were then sold to other wholesalers and hence back into the pharmaceutical stream of commerce and also directly to oncologists and cancer care centers in various states. None of the Florida suppliers had licenses as per Florida Chapter 499, and required pedigree paperwork (which shows the ownership trail of pharmaceutical drugs) was either not supplied or was determined to be phony.

Oria was booked in Missouri City, Texas. Attorney General Bill McCollum’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute this case. The investigation is active with more arrests pending.

For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Chernosky or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001