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Five arrested in alleged Baton Rouge prescription drug ring

Five people have been arrested in what the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office described as a large prescription drug ring. The five individuals face multiple charges, including drug manufacturing, drug distribution, racketeering and obtaining controlled substances through fraud.

Authorities said they believe the ring had been operating for five years, but they only began investigating the suspects after a pharmacist called a sports medicine clinic to verify a prescription. A physician at the clinic said he had not written the prescription. The two checked their records and found another 231 prescriptions the doctor said he had not written.

Police began investigating nine people who allegedly filled the prescriptions, and this led to the arrests and the seizure of 40,000 Oxycodone pills, 20,000 Hydrocone pills, amphetamines and other controlled substances. Authorities estimated the street value of the drugs seized at $1.37 million.

One way to defend against drug charges is to investigate the actions of the police in arresting the suspect and seizing the evidence. The U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and so police typically need a warrant to search people's homes. There are many exceptions to this rule, but it's a very important protection. If the police exceeded their authority in the search, the evidence they seized can be suppressed, meaning it can't be used against the defendant in court. The penalties that come with a conviction on drug charges in Louisiana are severe, potentially including lengthy prison terms, years on probation with special conditions and huge fines.

Source: The Advocate, "EBRSO: Pharmacist's question helped unravel drug ring," Ryan Broussard, Jan. 28, 2014

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