Nearly 70 people, including physicians, were detained after local, state and federal investigators raided a Panorama City clinic suspected of selling prescriptions for the addictive painkiller Oxycodone, authorities said Thursday.
Wednesday morning's raid on the Roscoe Van Nuys Medical Clinic at 8121 Van Nuys Blvd. was carried out by the Health Authority Law Enforcement Taskforce and involved personnel from the Sheriff's Department, the California Department of Justice, the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Health and Human Services, said Lt. Chris Brackpool of the Los Angeles County sheriff's Major Crimes Bureau.
The multijurisdictional task force, which is known as HALT, focuses on health-related crimes and also includes the Los Angeles Police Department.
Patients and employees were detained and two of the patients were arrested for outstanding warrants during the raid on the clinic, Brackpool said.
The clinic's manager, Aida Hawatmeh, 52, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a felony and conspiracy to furnish unlawful pharmaceuticals after authorities served a warrant at her home in the 10100 block of Vanalden Avenue in Northridge, he said. She was released Wednesday evening after posting $25,000 bail and was due in court in Van Nuys Friday morning.
The clinic, which authorities describe as a "pill mill" where addicts and dealers pay hundreds of dollars for prescriptions without being examined by a doctor, was searched and shut down last year but reopened with different doctors and was again operating illegally, Brackpool said.
Several doctors and other clinic employees were under investigation as part of the case, he said.