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Bronx Drug Gang Supplied By Doctor

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Federal agents arrested a Washington Heights doctor Wednesday for selling thousands of prescription Oxycodone pills to a Bronx drug gang during a two-year period, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Felix Rodriguez, 50, allegedly supplied at least 425 grams of the drug, which the dealers referred to as "jelly beans," from the spring 2009 through May 2011.

The bust comes in the wake of a crackdown on the illegal sale of prescription drugs in the southern part of Washington Heights.

“It is particularly disturbing when a physician, entrusted to be a healer and caregiver, allegedly engages with co-conspirators to traffic in Oxycodone,"
said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. "Properly prescribed, Oxycodone is a remedy in pain management.  Improperly used, it is a highly addictive and possibly lethal drug."

The gang also allegedly sold hard drugs along with the pills.

"That some of the conspirators in this case also allegedly dealt cocaine only emphasizes the dangerous proximity of the illegal diversion of prescription medication and the trafficking of other illegal drugs," Bharara added.

Rodriguez allegedly provided prescriptions to alleged gang members Fernando Dejesus, 33, Efrain Dejesus, 64, Laurie Melo, 41, and Carol Reynolds, 53, who then sold them on the streets for cash.

The gang used a stash house in Bronx as their base of operations and sold over five kilos of cocaine in Bronx and Yonkers, according to prosecutors.

Rodriguez and the alleged gang members are charged with conspiracy to violate U.S. narcotics laws and face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine.   

“Today’s arrests place a doctor whose oath was to keep people healthy, and his drug distribution organization behind bars," said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Wilbert Plummer in a statement. "Dr. Felix Rodriguez hid behind his white jacket while overseeing and facilitating an Oxycodone distribution ring based in the Bronx, New York."

 

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Maria Perez

reports on the Highbridge section of Bronx. Before enrolling in Columbia’s journalism school, she reported for some of the most widely circulated Spanish newspapers (ABC, El Mundo), as well as for Agencia EFE newswire and the British Medical Journal, covering local news, social issues, science, health, culture and the environment. Born in Madrid, she graduated from a Madrid university in law and journalism and she also holds an MBA. Before coming to the USA, she lived in Spain, the United Kingdom and Israel.