Drug raid at VA hospital - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Drug raid at VA hospital

RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Nearly two dozen people are accused of running a prescription drug operation out of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Riviera Beach.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, with the help of other agencies, raided the VA Thursday morning.

The raid is the result of a seven-month undercover investigation called "Operation Tango Vax".

The sheriff's office says warrants were issued for the arrest of 21 people. They include both hospital patients and employees. A pharmacy technician, a respiratory therapist and several nursing assistants were among the VA workers arrested.

Investigators spent the morning searching vehicles and interviewing potential witnesses and taking suspects into custody.

"It really hurts my feelings that you know these people are here to take care of us, and there's people here that are selling drugs, you know, and everybody knew this for a long time, and I guess it's been going on until they could track down the correct people, and I'm glad that they did that," said VA patient Robert Bates.

"That's the good thing. Finally, somebody's brought it to attention, and that's good, that's good yes," added VA patient David Pond.

Investigators say they went undercover several months ago and posed as hospital workers. Those undercover agents say they were able to buy prescription drugs, largely oxycontin, from hospital staffers as well as veterans who sold their own medication.

Investigators say they seized about 6,000 oxycontin pills, two vehicles and $200,000 in cash.

"The VA Center is almost like a little city. There's 8-to-10 thousand people a day that come through here, receiving services. It's a unique facility. There's a lot of people here. A lot of the drugs were coming off the street and being brought into here, so there's a little bit of everything that was happening here," said Capt. Eric Coleman with the PBSO Narcotics Division.

Others outside of the hospital have also been targeted.

Named Defendants:

Robert Cefola - 2 counts of Trafficking in Oxycodone (14 G. - 28 G.) 893.135 1c 1b (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 15 year mandatory/minimum per count; 1 count of Sale Of Marijuana Within 1000 Ft Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e2 (2 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 15 Years Prison. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 75 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Damien Davis – 1 count of Trafficking In Oxycodone (4 G. - 14 G.) 893.135 1c 1a (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 3 year mandatory/minimum. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 30 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Tisha Dennis – 1 count of Sale Of Marijuana Within 1000 Ft Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e2 (2 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 15 Years Prison. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 15 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Arthur Ford – 1 count of Trafficking In Oxycodone (4 G. - 14 G.) 893.135 1c 1a (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 3 year mandatory/minimum; 1 count of Conspiracy To Traffic In Oxycodone (4g. - 14g.) 893.135 1c1a 5 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 3 year mandatory/minimum. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 60 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Terri Guerra – 1 count of Conspiracy To Traffic In Oxycodone (28g. - 30kg.) 893.135 1c1c 5 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 25 year mandatory/minimum. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 30 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Ellen Hugee – 1 count of Trafficking In Oxycodone (14 G. - 28 G.) 893.135 1c 1b (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 15 year mandatory/minimum; 1 count of Sale Of Marijuana Within 1000 Ft Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e2 (2 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 15 Years Prison; and 1 count of Sale Of Oxycodone Within 1000 Feet Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e1 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 75 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Rubin Hugee – 1 count of Sale Of Marijuana Within 1000 Ft Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e2 (2 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 15 Years Prison; and 1 count of Sale Of Oxycodone Within 1000 Feet Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e1 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 45 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Shawn Montgomery – 1 count of Trafficking In Oxycodone (4 G. - 14 G.) 893.135 1c 1a (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 3 year mandatory/minimum. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 30 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Douglas Reese – 1 count of Sale Of Oxycodone Within 1000 Feet Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e1 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 30 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Arseletter Robinson – 1 count of Sale Of Marijuana Within 1000 Ft Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e2 (2 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 15 Years Prison; 1 count of Trafficking In Oxycodone (4 G. - 14 G.) 893.135 1c 1a (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 3 year mandatory/minimum; and 1 count of Conspiracy To Traffic In Oxycodone (4g. - 14g.) 893.135 1c1a 5 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison with 3 year mandatory/minimum. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 75 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Stephon Robinson – 2 counts of Sale Of Marijuana Within 1000 Ft Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e2 (2 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 15 Years Prison per count. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 30 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Samuel Taylor – 1 count of Sale Of Schedule II Substance Within 1000 Feet Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e1 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 30 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Joseph Trowell – 1 count of Sale Of Oxycodone Within 1000 Feet Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e1 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 30 YEARS IN PRISON

 

Melvin Williams – 2 counts of Sale Of Oxycodone Within 1000 Feet Of Place Of Worship 893.13 1e1 (1 F) - Maximum Allowable Sentence: 30 Years Prison per count. TOTAL POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE: 60 YEARS IN PRISON


Defendant information from the Palm Beach County State Attorney

 

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