One arrested in Summit County in pharmaceutical sting
July 20, 2011
The authorities arrested a person in Summit County as part of an operation in northern Utah targeting people who investigators said imported medicines into the U.S. illegally.
A Utah Attorney General’s Office strike force led the operation, which netted 21 arrests earlier in July.
Miriam Cabnillas Castillo, who is 37 years old, faces a charge of selling, dispensing or trafficking in prescription drugs. The charge is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.
She appeared in Third District Court on Monday and another court date was scheduled on Aug. 1. Castillo is being held at the Summit County Jail. Bail is set at $2,500. Immigration officials have ordered her held, however.
Ken Wallentine, the chief of law enforcement for the Attorney General’s Office, said the local arrest was made after a search warrant was served. He declined to identify the store that the investigators targeted.
Wallentine said undercover officers had purchased medicines that had been imported illegally. A variety of medicines had been purchased, he said. The medicines had primarily been brought into the U.S. from Mexico, he said.
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The investigation had spanned approximately five weeks.
Wallentine said the overall operation seized more than 3,000 boxes or bottles of medicines. A prepared statement released by the Attorney General’s Office indicated the medicines included pain pills, antibiotics, steroids and other sorts of pharmaceuticals. The statement said some of the medicines were being sold to people without prescriptions by stores that did not have pharmacy licenses or licensed and trained pharmacy staffers.
The Park City Police Department assisted in the case, the Attorney General’s Office said.
"Unfettered distribution of powerful antibiotics creates a very significant public health threat. Improper use of these drugs can help breed a superbug that could cause a wide scale pandemic, potentially endangering tens of thousands of persons," Wallentine said in a prepared statement.
Other people arrested in the operation are from Salt Lake County, Tooele County, Utah County, Cache County and Weber County.
Bruce Savage, Castillo’s attorney, said he has been told she is from Mexico. Savage by Monday had not been provided the formal charging documents and declined to comment about the case.