Medical providers in California and elsewhere must be diligent in keeping their prescription pads away from patients. It's common for them to be stolen and used to obtain large volumes of pills, usually pain pills and addictive tranquilizers. The thief can then make money by selling the pills to individual buyers on the streets, constituting illegal drug trafficking.
Police in Modesto have charged four people with a conspiracy to steal prescriptions from a managed pain clinic and with forging the prescriptions to buy tens of thousands of Oxycodone and Xanax pills. These were allegedly sold on the street to buyers, often reportedly young people and those looking for cheap products. The Modesto police spokesperson stated that this was a significant amount of pills and a larger amount than seen in a long time.
At this time, the relative involvement of each individual is unknown and unreported. Those facts will be revealed as the case settles with guilty pleas or goes to trial. Each defendant must obtain his or her own independent California criminal defense counsel to assure being represented vigorously.
Each counsel will make a thorough investigation to determine the level of involvement, if any, of the represented defendant. It's relatively unusual to see four individuals stealing prescriptions from the same source over an extended period of time. The meaning or impact of that reality remains to be seen, but each counsel will be looking to minimize or eliminate his or her client's responsibility for any crimes that may have been committed.
It is unknown if the four defendants, consisting of three women and one man, resided together or were in fact acting in concert together. At this time, it's not known if they were charged with conspiracy to commit drug trafficking offenses. In any event, it is the main duty of defense counsel to become well informed of the facts when taking on the responsibility of representing a defendant on serious drug charges.
Source: capradio.org, "Modesto Police Arrest 4 In Suspected Prescription Drug Ring", Rich Ibarra, Jan. 15, 2015