$5M of prescription drugs found in NJ home

March 6, 2010 9:30:08 AM PST
Police seeking the source of a gas odor at a northern New Jersey home instead found thousands of pills and other medications worth $5 million.There are whole pharmacies that don't have nearly as many prescription drugs as three men and teenage boy were found with inside a small Fairview, New Jersey apartment.

Veteran lawmen couldn't believe what they found in there.

"Initially when we gave the phone calls, nobody wanted to believe us, in regards to what we had. When we said 5,000 to 6,000 bottles, they said 'what do you mean pills', and I said 'no, we mean bottles,'" said Chief John Pinzone, of the Fairview Police Department.

Did they mean bottles!

Police believe three men and a 17-year-old boy were at the center of a massive Medicaid fraud ring, operated out of a small apartment, that covers at least two states.

"The majority are from the City of New York, there are some from the State of New Jersey, and what they'll actually do is identify whether or not the prescription, the patient, are Medicare or Medicaid patients, and if it's part of a greater ring, it can be connected to organized crime," explained Deputy Chief Frank Del Vecchio, of the Fairview Police Department.

Police answered a call Thursday about a bad smell that turned out to be lighter fluid, used to take labels off of prescription bottles to make them untraceable.

Eyewitness News went to an apartment where at least one of the men lived.

"I really don't want to talk," said a person through an apartment buzzer.

Now the FDA, the FBI in New York and New Jersey, the Attorney Generals, and the NYPD are all investigating the ring.

"When you are debating the cost of prescription health care in the nation and all that, this is part of the reason that the costs are so high," said Del Vecchio.

The four were charged with drug offense, and more charges may be filed.