Ventura County – Working on a February 2014 tip from their “Crime Stoppers” program, the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit has been methodically operating “in an undercover capacity” as reported by Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Victor Fazio since then to get to the source of illegal prescription sales first detected in a Santa Paula market.
Investigation throughout Ventura County soon revealed ongoing sales of illegal medications throughout the area in small markets throughout Oxnard, Simi Valley, and Fillmore. According to Fazio, “the drugs mainly consisted of antibiotics and pain medications originally manufactured in Mexico.” Investigation soon determined that the source of the drugs were retail stores in the downtown Los Angeles area, whereupon both Ventura and L.A. County task forces conducted multiple undercover buys that led to warrant searches throughout both counties and the confiscation of “approximately 16,000 pills, bottles, and vials of prescription medication.”
Working their way up the supply chain, the combined task force detectives learned that “the majority of these rugs were coming from Mexico” and through Craigslist postings eventually made contact with Miguel Meza and Pedro Morales in San Diego under the guise of making a large buy of the drugs. On June 26th, when they arrived at the Fashion Valley Mall to complete the cash portion of their putative transactoin, Meza and Morales were undoubtedly disappointed to learn that their new wholesale buyers were undercover detectives with handcuffs and search warrants in hand.
Both Meza and Morales were booked into Ventura County Jail for sales of controlled substances and dangerous drugs, with bail set at $600,000 each. Detectives ultimatelly seized over 20,000 dosages of prescription medications—many of which were counterfeit or adulterated and composed of shredded plastic.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking
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