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Fairfax County police claim largest prescription drug raid ever

Fairfax County, Virginia, police descended on more than one dozen local businesses in a recent morning drug trafficking sting. Officials believe they scored the county's largest haul of illegal prescription drugs when they raided 13 stores in Alexandria, Springfield and Falls Church.

No arrests were made and no charges were filed. Investigators say that may change depending on the results of police laboratory tests. The store owners could be charged with dispensing without a license for drug sales of counterfeit or smuggled prescriptions.

The police raid was the culmination of an almost year-long investigation into drugs that some customers complained made them ill. The bulk of the drug seizures were allegedly knock-off drugs or birth control pills, painkillers and antibiotics manufactured outside the United States, where fewer quality controls exist. Customers who bought the prescription drugs were predominantly lower-income, Latino patrons.

Police say the stores openly displayed the drugs. Undercover agents allegedly found that some store employees dispensed medical advice along with the medication.

A group of 75 Fairfax County officers conducted the raid at seven Alexandra businesses, two in Springfield and four shops in Falls Church. Investigators say they believe one supplier is behind the drug merchandise found at a few of the businesses. Four of the 13 businesses raided were shut down for violating building codes. Officials say more of the shops are likely to close as the investigation continues.

Federal officials are also involved. Fairfax police contacted the Secret Service after discovering counterfeit bills among the tens of thousands of dollars seized with the prescription drugs.

With no charges yet filed, it would be a good time for anyone who is being targeted in the investigation to consult with experienced criminal defense attorneys, who can fight to ensure that no legal rights are violated.

Source: McLean Patch, "Fairfax Police Raid 13 Businesses for Prescription Drugs," Will Sommer, Dec. 3, 2011

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