Back in 2007, the feds indicted a Miami doctor for allegedly writing bogus prescriptions for hydrocodone and other addictive medicines shipped across the country through an online pharmacy. The case was more than solid; in fact, prosecutors gathered more than 400,000 pages of records to bolster their case.
Turns out they may have gathered too much evidence. With the doctor, Armando Angulo, hiding in Panama, a federal judge has dismissed the charges because prosecutors don't have room to keep all the documents.
In addition to the physical documents, they had two terrabytes of data related to Angulo's charges.
Prosecutors last week convinced U.S. District Judge Linda Reade to dismiss the case, even though some experts contacted by the AP questioned whether the DEA should have had any trouble keeping the evidence on file. After all, terrabyte memory drives are on the market for a hundred bucks or less.
"I'm thinking that excuse is just their easy way out," Randy Stock, who runs an website about electronic storage, tells the AP.
Angulo's case dates back to 2003, when the feds raided a pharmacy in Iowa and traced reams of illegal pills back to two online distributors, including the Florida-based Pharmacom.
Angulo, who is now 59 years old, worked as a doctor for the website between 2003 and 2004, when the state revoked his license to prescribe hydrocodone and other medicines.
That initial Iowa raid spiraled into 26 convictions in federal court, including 19 doctors involved in the online pharmacies.
But Angulo fled to his native Panama before federal agents could arrest him. Panama refuses to extradite its citizens to the U.S., so federal prosecutors had little hope of bringing Angulo back to the States to face trial.
Despite the dismissal, Angulo shouldn't book a South Beach vacation anytime soon; he'll remain on the list of most wanted Florida criminals in connection to other Medicare fraud charges.
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.