In true South Florida fashion, a pill mill that trafficked thousands of illegal oxycodone tablets was operating right in the heart of Miami-Dade County government, the feds say.
Recent charges filed against Robert's Drug Store and its owner, Aiman Aryan, are a surprising fall from grace for a well-connected pharmacist with four locations around the 305 -- including one in the lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, the seat of power for county Mayor Carlos Gimenez and thousands of Dade staffers.
>Talk about slimy government connections. Aryan and 23 others were indicted October 12 on charges of defrauding Medicare and conspiring to distribute OxyContin, oxycodone, and other synthetic painkillers. Bernard Cassidy, Aryan's attorney, declined to comment. The 40-year-old Pinecrest pharmacist did not return a message left at his office.
Although local news outlets reported the big bust, no one noted that Aryan was allegedly slinging pain pills right under Gimenez's nose.
Robert's has been operating inside county hall since 2005. Four years ago, Aryan's pharmacy beat out Walgreens to keep its lease, which paid the county $204,000 in rent over five years.
In 2003, the Sun-Sentinel quoted him bemoaning his problems with Medicaid's "highly corrupt system for dispensing& narcotics to the poor." Now, the DEA says Aryan is one of the largest criminal distributors of oxy in South Florida.
Between January and June 1 of this year, Aryan allegedly purchased "1.6 million units of oxycodone," which made him South Florida's "fifth-highest wholesale purchaser," according to an October 14 order suspending his state license.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
All of those pills ended up in the hands of two drug dealers who helped Aryan recruit Medicaid patients who were paid ;$600 every time they picked up opiates from Robert's, the DEA says.
County attorneys are checking whether they can terminate Aryan's lease based on the federal charges, says Suzy Trutie, a spokeswoman for the County.
Each of Aryan's drugstores, including the Government Center location, dispensed an average of 270 oxy tablets a day per patient, the feds say.