The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has arrested 280 people in a four-state crackdown of illegal distribution of prescription pills, named “Operation Pilluted,” Reuters reports. The arrests took place in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.
The operation was aimed at stopping the illegal distribution of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and other addictive prescription drugs, such as the antidepressant Xanax. Twenty-two doctors and pharmacists were among those arrested on federal and state criminal charges. The DEA said the action was the largest-ever prescription drug operation.
“The doctors and pharmacists arrested in Operation Pilluted are nothing more than drug traffickers who prey on the addiction of others while abandoning the Hippocratic Oath adhered to faithfully by thousands of doctors and pharmacists each day across this country,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown said in a statement.
In addition to prescription drugs, the DEA seized 51 vehicles, 202 weapons and more than $400,000 in cash. The 15-month operation involved almost 1,000 law enforcement officers.