LOS ANGELES – Dozens of people were arrested Thursday in the Los Angeles area and in Washington state for their alleged role in a drug ring peddling the pain medication Oxycontin, authorities said.
“Members of this ring regularly circulate between Los Angeles and Spokane to fuel their customers’ insatiable appetite and pharmaceutical addiction,” said Matthew G. Barnes of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Seattle office.
In the Los Angeles area, authorities arrested 28 people on federal charges, two of whom were already in custody on state charges. In Washington state, 12 people were arrested on federal charges in Spokane, and one was arrested in Mountlake Terrace.
Also, three people were arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department on state arrest warrants in a “separate but related investigation,” officials said.
The names of the suspects were not immediately released.
“Today’s operation is another fine example of the outstanding partnerships that have been forged between agencies who are committed to ridding our communities of violent organized criminals who prey on our city,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. The enforcement action stemmed from a 32-count federal indictment handed down in the Eastern District of Washington in January. The indictment charges numerous people with criminal violations relating to the distribution, possession and attempted possession of oxycodone hydrochloride in violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
Some of the people named in the indictment face potential mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years in prison, officials said. Also, federal authorities have filed a notice of criminal forfeiture seeking a money judgment of $20 million, which is alleged to represent the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the charged controlled substances offenses.