By Jason A. Smith
A father and son are suspected of forging prescriptions at area pharmacies, to conduct drug transactions for money.
Agents with the Flint Circuit Drug Task Force arrested Adrian Leon, 50, and Octabio Leon, 30, both of Marietta. The pair appeared in Henry County Magistrate Court Friday, represented by the Public Defender's Office.
Judge Robert Godwin set their bonds at $10,050 each, and reset preliminary hearings in their cases for Nov. 17, to enable both men to have an interpreter in court. Each is charged with obtaining, or attempting to obtain, dangerous drugs by fraud or forgery.
The two were arrested Thursday at Fred's Pharmacy, located at 80 Oak Street in Hampton, according to Task Force Agent Shawn Shelton.
He said the two men went to several local pharmacies allegedly to commit the crimes, in a scheme known as "smurfing."
"That's where somebody pays them, and they'll get forged prescriptions, go to several different pharmacies and fill these ... prescriptions," Shelton said. "Doing this, they're paid anywhere from $50 to $150 a person ... and they'll take [the drugs] back to the individual who paid them. They'll sell the pills for $5 to $15 a pop.
The Leons, the agent said, had allegedly been involved in similar offenses recently, in McDonough, Hampton and Locust Grove, purchasing drugs, including oxycodone and Xanax.
"We received some information from a confidential informant that these guys were operating in the area," Shelton said. "So, when we started checking into pharmacies ... we found ... a couple of locations where they had been filling prescriptions."
Both men were arrested and taken into custody. Shelton said when they were apprehended, Adrian Leon told authorities about the person who had allegedly instructed them to do what the pair was doing.
"An unknown individual in Marietta paid him $150 per day, gave him the money to buy these prescriptions, and told him where to go to fill them," the agent said.
Agents are examining phone records in an effort to identify others involved in the case, Shelton said.