Ventura County – As if the interdiction of illegal drugs wasn’t keeping law enforcement busy enough, since the middle of August Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit, comprised of detectives from the VCSD, Simi Valley Police Department, Thousand Oaks Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation, the California Highway Patrol, and the Health Quality Investigation Unit of the California Division of Investigation (whew!) has been busy investigating reports of what VCSD spokesman Sgt. Victor Fazio described to the media as “criminal activity” at a Newbury Park pharmacy.
The product of that joint task force investigation established evidence sufficient to identify Michael Shapiro, a resident of Los Angeles, as having made multiple attempts to fill “a forged prescription” for a number of controlled medical substances. Two weeks of investigation indicated that Shapiro had presented no less than 160 forged prescription documents over the preceding year for a wide range of drugs including hydrocodone, Xanax, Ritalin, and Ambien, none of which are legally purchased without being prescribed by a licensed medical professional.
With their suspicions into Shapiro’s activities mounting daily, on August 27th detectives served search warrants on two separate Los Angeles County homes where Shapiro had been reportedly residing. Those searches unearthed “hundreds of blank and pre-filled out fraudulent prescriptions” along with a cache of illegally acquired prescription medications. According to Fazio, “Shapiro had extensive knowledge regarding prescription drugs” as a graduate of Yale Medical School, although he had never been licensed to practice medicine.
In spite of his academic reputation and apparent skill as a forger, Shapiro was transported to Ventura County Jail where he was booked on charges of prescription forgery and commercial burglary.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking