Englewood, Florida -- After an 10-month-long investigation, deemed 'Operation Bad Apple', more than two dozen people were arrested Friday morning for their role in a prescription fraud ring that put thousands of Oxycodone pills on the street.
The Sarasota Sheriff's Office says in March 2012, investigators learned that Luxor Industries Physicians Group in North Fort Myers filled over 65 fraudulent prescriptions at Apple Pharmacy in Englewood for approximately $40,000 between June and August 2011.
During their investigation, detectives confirmed that the prescribing physician did not write the prescriptions and the FDLE, along with the Department of Health, closed Luxor Industries in July 2012 for being an unlicensed pain clinic.
"For nearly three years I've made complaints about the drug deals going on in my parking lot next door to the pharmacy," said Roberta Domineer, the manager at Babes Ace Hardware.
Roberta said it wasn't until the store installed 15 cameras and saw firsthand what was going on that Sarasota deputies took her seriously.
In all, 23 suspects in the case were arrested this week with the help of the multiple agencies, including the North Port Police Department. Five were already in the Sarasota County Jail and one other is wanted on outstanding warrants.
Mug Shots: 28 arrested in 'Operation Bad Apple'
Charges for those arrested include obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and trafficking in oxycodone. If convicted, they face between a mandatory 15 and 25 years minimum in prison based on the amount of pills they obtained.
Sheriff Tom Knight says these arrests should put a dent in the supply of pills abused in the community.
The investigation continues and the sheriff's office says there will be more arrests. Anyone with information on this case, or who is concerned about similar suspicious activity, is encouraged to call 941-861-5800 to speak with Pharmaceutical Diversion Unit.