14 Houston residents named in pill ring case that recruited homeless


Fourteen men and women from Houston have been charged in connection with a prescription drug distribution ring that spanned across the state and recruited the homeless to pose at patients at medical clinics to obtain prescriptions for the medications, federal officials said Wednesday. According to a federal indictment, 23 people total are accused of participating in a scheme to illicitly obtain prescriptions for pain medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and then distribute the drugs for profit in Houston, Austin, Dallas and Louisiana. The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Dallas last month and unsealed Tuesday afternoon, alleges those involved often recruited homeless people or those of limited means to pose as patients at medical clinics to obtain prescriptions for the pain medication and then fill them at designated pharmacies. The practice of recruiting either homeless or underprivileged people by such a prescription drug rings is one that is well-known to law enforcement officials, especially in Houston, which became nationally known for its concentration of such rings.

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