Seventeen people were arrested in Boynton Beach by federal agents for suspicion of using stolen prescription pads to get drugs and then sell them.
The arrests occurred Thursday afternoon when Drug Enforcement Administration agents swept in and booked several men on state drug charges, according to DEA spokeswoman Mia Ro.
The investigation began 18 months ago, when the DEA received a tip on their pill mill tip line from a Boynton Beach pharmacist about suspicious prescriptions coming from Dania Beach pain clinic Via Domitia.
Through the investigation, agents found that 45 people had been using stolen prescription pads to get their hands on Oxycodone and Percocet and then sold them on the streets of South Florida.
Agents say that between April and November of 2011, 45,000 Oxycodone pills were fraudulently pulled from pharmacies. Prescription pads were stolen from employees of Via Domitia.
The street value of Oxycodone and Percocet averages 20 to 30 dollars per pill. The dealers were reportedly filling 180 pills per bottle -- which could potentially snatch them up to $3,000 per bottle on the street.
So, the DEA set up a staging area near Federal Highway and Gateway Boulevard, where at least 36 people were targeted for arrest on drug trafficking charges.
Among those caught were Karl Gross, 31, of Boynton Beach; Lorenzo May, 37, of Boynton Beach; Troy Patton, 42, of Boynton Beach; and Jermaine Ward, 30, of Boynton Beach.
According to the DEA, the men arrested would allegedly recruit other men off the street, front them with cash to use stolen prescription pads, forge doctors' signatures, and then fill prescriptions.
Agents used a list of known addresses to go knocking door-to-door to find the suspects.
Along the way, they seized $7,000 cash, two kilograms of cocaine, and an AK-47, according to the DEA.
There are reportedly 20 remaining suspects yet to be found. Those who were arrested were booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on state drug charges.
The DEA calls the sweep an ongoing investigation.
More than 200 law enforcement officers from 11 agencies participated in the sting.
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