It was a million-dollar-a-year operation.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Field Division and Miami-Dade police, arrested a Cutler Bay doctor and two of his office managers Tuesday and charged them with operating a pill mill.
According to the departments, Dr. Armando Falcon owned and operated Pain Center of Cutler Bay, a pain management clinic in a strip mall at 10961 SW 186th St.
Falcon, deputies say, used the office as a cover to illegally sell large quantities of prescription painkillers.
The investigation found that Falcon met with patients for less than two minutes on average before writing and filling prescriptions for approximately 150, 30 mg oxycodone pills. He accepted only cash payments, Bondi said.
The attorney general’s office charges that Falcon saw between 20 to 25 patients daily and took in more than a million dollars a year from this scheme.
“According to bank records obtained during the investigation, Dr. Falcon used the cash proceeds from the clinic to purchase beach apartments, boats, expensive cars and houses,” Bondi’s release read.
Falcon’s office managers at the clinic, Claudia Centeno and Reveka Karagianni, were also arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of racketeering and trafficking in oxycodone in connection to the prescription drug sales. As of Wednesday morning, Centeno remained in custody at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on a bail of $90,000.
According to the attorney general’s investigation, and first reported by Miami Herald news partner CBS4, “Centeno and Karagianni printed prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone usually before Dr. Falcon arrived at work — in an effort to expedite the process.”
Bondi said the DEA conducted 16 undercover visits to the clinic.
Falcon, Centeno and Karagianni face charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, trafficking oxycodone, money laundering, continuing a criminal enterprise, and structuring transactions to evade reporting, according to the arrest report.
The Miami Dade Police Department assisted with the arrests and investigation. Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute.
“Anyone contributing to this deadly epidemic will be held accountable, and today we are doing so,” Bondi posted on Twitter on Tuesday.