The Palm Beach State Attorney's Office announced today that it has charged 19 people at the West Palm Beach Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center with running the place like a pill mill.
According to State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, more than 6,000 oxycodone pills were seized as part of a seven-month operation that led to the arrest of six hospital employees as well as several veterans at the VA and their "associates."
The State Attorney's Office says the people arrested were either selling oxycodone or marijuana -- or a combination of both -- among one another at the hospital.
McAuliffe calls prescription drug trafficking the "worst bully we have faced in this community in some time" and describes the charges for a few of those arrested, with several of those people facing up to 75 years in prison if convicted.
From a quick check of medical certification records, two of the employees are respiratory therapist Robert Cefola -- who faces two counts of trafficking oxycodone and one count of selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of a place of worship -- and certified pharmacy technician Terri Guerra, who faces one count of conspiracy to traffic oxycodone.
The others arrested were Damien Davis, Tisha Dennis, Arthur Ford, Ellen Hugee, Robin Hugee, Shawn Montgomery, Douglas Reese, Arseletter Robinson, Stephon Robinson, Samuel Taylor, Joseph Trowell, and Melvin Williams. Each of them faces a maximum prison sentence of at least 15 years if convicted.
The State Attorney's Office says it will release the names of the other five people charged once they are arrested.
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In addition to the 6,000 pills the cops seized, they also took in nearly $200,000 in cash and two vehicles.