From small bodegas to tiny butcher shops, unauthorized prescription drugs are being sold in a variety of spots across Fairfax County and police are working to stomp it out.
Customers typically pay between $5 – $25 — cash — per dose for the medications, stored in boxes within armsâ€™ reach of the cashier. An undercover operation has targeted the wide-ranging scope of the problem over the past six months.
Police received a few sporadic reports from the Latino community that counterfeit drugs were being sold over the past several years. They stepped up their efforts to tackle the problem after a woman came forward when she became violently ill and been hospitalized after taking the drugs a few months ago.
â€œSome of the people who came forward asking for help from us were very hesitant to do so. They were non-English speaking immigrants who came from countries where theyâ€™d had negative experiences with law enforcement, so it was a tough thing for them to do,â€ said John Piper, Commander of the Criminal Intelligence Division. â€œMost likely, there are many others whoâ€™ve become ill from these smuggled drugs that we will never know about.â€
Search warrants were served today at the following locations:
- Kings Corner, 6138 N. Kings Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22303
- La Despensa, 7500 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22306
- Rico Supermarket, 7849 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22306
- Margaritaâ€™s Grocery, 8512 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22309
- El Compadre II, 8723 Cooper Road, Alexandria, VA 22309
- La Placita, 2929 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA 22042
- San Miguel, 5900 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041
- Culmore Super Market, 6019 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041
- 99 Depot Plus, 6229 Little River Tnpk, Alexandria, VA 22312
- Mi Tierra Mercado, 6531-F Little River Tnpk, Alexandria, VA 22312
- Bestway, 3019 Graham Road, Falls Church, VA 22042
- Desi Bazar, 6127 Backlick Rd, Springfield, VA 22150
- Mercado La Colonia, 6971 Hechinger Drive, Springfield, VA 22151
Police are continuing their investigation and will make arrests and charges as appropriate. That information will be compiled and released to the public at a later time.
The operation included a variety of resources from within the police department along with officials from the Fairfax County Health Department and the Fairfax County Zoning Agency.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail, by texting â€œTIP187â€ plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.