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Two Dozen Charged In Pill Scam At Palm Beach VA Center

MIAMI (CBS4) - More than a dozen people were taken into custody for all selling oxycodone and other drugs around a Veterans Affairs medical center in Palm Beach County.

Six VA employees, including a pharmacist and nursing assistants, were among the 14 arrested in an undercover investigation of the West Palm Beach Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. More arrests are expected, according to the Palm Beach County state attorney's office.

Roughly 6,000 oxycodone pills, more than $200,000 in cash and two vehicles were seized in the bust, authorities said.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw described the suspects as "independent operators with a common theme" working in an "unsophisticated" scam to divert pills from the medical center. Veterans receiving services at the facility were also selling drugs, along with their associates.

"The alleged misconduct by VA employees is unacceptable. VA does not tolerate illegal activity by anyone at its facilities. VA will continue to work with the proper authorities to ensure those who committed crimes are brought to justice," medical center director Charleen Szabo said.

No doctors were arrested in the bust. The suspects face a variety of charges, mainly oxycodone trafficking and marijuana sales.

The seven-month long investigation was launched after the VA Office alerted the Inspector General's Office.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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