Eight people who allegedly imported thousands of medications from foreign countries and sold them to primarily Latino customers on street corners or in front of businesses were charged with selling prescription drugs without a license, authorities announced Wednesday.
“Buying foreign prescription drugs and injectable medication on the street can be a recipe for disaster,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in announcing the misdemeanor charges. “That medicine you hoped would help you could harm you instead.”
According to Feuer’s office, investigators also seized more than 100,000 pills, compounds and injectable medications “that could have caused serious harm or death to consumers.” The drugs included injectable medications typically used for back pain or bone infections, along with antibiotics, pain medication, lidocaine and injectable contraception.
Charged in the case were Gloria Garcia, 65; Teresa Cruz, 64; Martha Bueno, 62; Bryan Pineda, 28; Maria Vences-Tinoco, 50; Maria Rosa Portillo, 74; Martha Siguenza, 74; and Helen Portillo, 40. Prosecutors said they were selling the drugs out of “attractive candy-colored displays” across the city, including in parks and in front of businesses such as grocery stores, beauty salons and travel agencies.
The defendants each face up to a your in jail and fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, according to the City Attorney’s Office. They are expected to be arraigned Sept. 12.