Prosecutor announced the arrests of 21 people Thursday who they said brazenly advertised that they sold prescription drugs on Craigslist, and were caught for selling cocaine as well.
They said the defendants sold the addictive pills in Craigslist postings disguised as “study aids” or “pain relief.” Undercover cops answered the ads, bought the drugs and arrested the sellers.
One ad offered, “Friendly Nyu student who can offer pain relief and anxiety relief. easy, non-sketchy, straightforward meeting.”
The defendants, ages 22 to 62, held a wide range of New Yorker occupations — two are college students, one at New York University and another at Marymount Manhattan College.
Another is a former teacher’s aide in New York City public schools.
The other suspects include a dot-com entrepreneur and a fifth is a celebrity photographer.
During the 11-month investigation, called Operation Dot Com, undercover officers made 63 separate drug purchases totaling $29,400.
The more than 1,000 prescription pills were a laundry list of anxiety and pain medication, like Adderall, Ambien, Percocet, Vicodin, Xanax and Valium.
They bought $10,000 in cocaine, and officers also were able to buy heroin and ecstasy.
Selling spots were street corners, coffee shops, grocery stores and a bookstore near Union Square and Washington Square Park.
Other undercover officers met for deals near Penn Station and in the MetLife Building, where an employee sold pills.
The Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office notes that the rate of prescription pills dispensed here is soaring. In New York City, Adderall prescriptions more than doubled between 2007 and 2011, and Xanax prescriptions were also about doubled in the same time frame.
“Whether the drug deal occurs on the street corner or on the Internet, it’s a crime,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly added that the painkiller addiction “epidemic” has escalated into violent crime, like an April robbery of an East Harlem pharmacy.
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