Investigators with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrested 18 suspects allegedly involved in a prescription drug fraud scheme.
The arrests were made on Thursday, September 6, 2018, said DPS Regional Director Orlando Alanis.
DPS Special Agents conducted an eight month investigation focused on identifying and targeting criminal organizations and individuals suspected of prescription drug fraud. The suspects allegedly profited or conspired to profit illegally from prescription drugs, including hydrocodone, suboxone, methadone, tramadol, alprazolam, Tylenol with codeine, lyrica, phentermine and temazepam, DPS official said.
"The diversion and abuse of prescription drugs poses a significant threat to the health and safety of El Pasoans," said Kyle W. Williamson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) El Paso Division. "As we have seen in other parts of the country hit hard by the opioid crisis, abuse of these drugs leads to countless shattered lives and tragically high rates of overdose deaths. For this reason, the DEA and our law enforcement partners in El Paso are committed to working together to investigate prescription fraud and stop those who illegally obtain and divert addictive pharmaceuticals."
The following individuals were arrested:
Leticia Cervantes, 60, of El Paso, Texas
Mauricio Cervantes 43, of El Paso, Texas
Cynthia Molinar 37, of El Paso, Texas
Guadalupe Nuno 66, of El Paso, Texas
Margaret Ziashkau 45, of El Paso, Texas
Maria Porras 60, El Paso, Texas
Myrna Dattoli 43, El Paso, Texas
Diana Gonzalez, 35, El Paso, Texas
Gracie Castillo 45, of El Paso, Texas
Nicholas Castillo, 47, of El Paso, Texas
Rosa Castillo, 76, of El Paso, Texas
Mario Martinez, 22, of El Paso, Texas
Maria Garcia 58, of El Paso, Texas
Guadalupe Zamarripa, 70, of El Paso, Texas
Debra Drost, 33, of El Paso, Texas
Luis Iglesias, 49, of El Paso, Texas
Alfonso Gil III, 38, of El Paso, Texas
Rogelio Salas, 32, of El Paso, Texas
Four fugitives are still on the run, officials said.
To report prescription drug fraud, contact DPS at (915) 849-4000 or DEA at (915) 231-4300.