News Story


Countywide - Task Force Targets Illegal Online Sales of Prescription Narcotics
10/2/2013 10:00:00 AM


Nature of Incident:

Task Force Targets Illegal Online Sales of Prescription Narcotics



Date & Time:

Oct. 2, 2013 @ 10:00 am

Unit(s) Responsible:

Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit







For the past several months, members of the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit have made multiple arrests of individuals selling drugs on the Internet marketplace Craigslist. Investigators bought or arranged to purchase 14 different drugs from individuals who had advertised controlled substances for sale on Craigslist.


Investigators purchased drugs ranging from Adderall, OxyContin, and Xanax, to cocaine. At least two of the cases involved encounters with suspects armed with guns or knives.


The focus on Craigslist came from local parents who had told investigators their children had been purchasing prescription drugs via the website.


Investigators discovered that many people were selling drugs illegally using the online marketplace.


Senator Ted Lieu is calling on Craigslist to provide tighter oversight on its website and has been instrumental in bringing attention to this problem that affects communities throughout the United States.


Parents need to be aware of their children's online activities to help stop the illegal purchase of these powerful prescription drugs, many of which have led to fatal overdoses. The following are examples of recent cases investigated by the task force:


'      A suspect sold his father's pain medication, which was prescribed for cancer pain


'      A woman drove to Simi Valley from Fontana to sell drugs with her two young children in the car during the transaction


'      A local 19-year-old man, armed with a 9mm handgun sold his prescription Suboxone after he had just filled the prescription at a pharmacy


'      A group of friends disguised over-the-counter medication to be Vyvanse, a Schedule II stimulant used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. During the arrest, one of the suspects armed himself with a knife


'      Several suspects were selling medications prescribed by an Oxnard doctor who was operating criminally and supplying street distributors with prescription painkillers


In another significant investigation, three suspects were arrested after importing bulk quantities of controlled substances from India and the Dominican Republic. The seized drugs intended for repackaging and resale within the United States by Ventura County residents. Drugs imported and sold included OxyContin, Ambien, Xanax, Klonopin, and Roxycodone.


Juan Manuel Garcia, 49, headed the United States end of this organization from Port Hueneme, where he had received multiple packages from India and the Dominican Republic containing tens of thousands of pills.


The organization appeared to be based in Asia and the Caribbean, where websites were designed and hosted for the American consumer to illegally order these drugs without a doctor's prescription. 


The Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Task Force was formed in May 2013 to stop the transfer of legal prescription medication to the illegal market. The task force is made up of investigators from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, and the Simi Valley Police Department.


Prepared by:

Sgt. Eric Buschow

Media Release Date:

October 2, 2013

Follow-Up Contact:

Captain Don Aguilar (805)797-7349


Sergeant Eric Buschow (805)947-8129


Approved by:

Assistant Sheriff Gary Pentis