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Feds bust key figure in South Arkansas prescription drug distribution ring - Magnolia Reporter - Magnolia, Arkansas News: Public Records

Feds bust key figure in South Arkansas prescription drug distribution ring

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Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 11:23 pm

Federal authorities have arrested a Union County man they believe to be a major supplier in a large prescription drug distribution ring operating in South Arkansas.

Shyquan Fair, 37, of El Dorado, was charged last Thursday on a federal complaint of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. A hearing was held Monday setting a detention hearing for 10 a.m. Friday, April 15 in U.S. District Court at El Dorado. Fair remains in the custody of federal marshals.

In a sworn affidavit filed with the complaint for Fair's arrest warrant, FBI special agent Cliff Carruth of Texarkana said that Fair has been involved in a conspiracy to distribute Hydrocodone, a Schedule II narcotic. It is not known how long Fair has been involved in trafficking, but Carruth's affidavit said the activity began as early as October 2009 and continued until March 19, 2010.

"Shyquan Fair was identified by law enforcement as being a part of a large prescription drug distribution ring. Several individuals had been arrested previously in southern Arkansas possessing prescription pills and gave statements identifying Fair as their supplier of both pills and fraudulent prescriptions," the affidavit said.

FBI agents and the El Dorado Police Department received information on March 19, 2010, that Fair was traveling to a pharmacy in Union County to pick up several fraudulent prescriptions for Hydrocodone and other controlled substances. The officers stopped Fair in his vehicle and found five bottles of 120-county Hydrocodone, five bottles of 60-count Xanax, and three bottles of Promethazine. Fair also possessed identification from various individuals.

Promethazine is normally used to relieve watery eyes and runny noses caused by pollen. It is also mixed with certain types of cough syrup and soft drinks to prepare a recreational drug called "purple drank" or "syrup." The drug acts as an opiate and in high doses, can cause respiratory failure.

Fair also faces multiple drug possession charges in relation to his arrest last March in Union County.

Fair admitted being part of a large distribution ring of prescription pills and fraudulent scripts, Carruth wrote.

"Fair stated that in 2009 he met an individual in Houston, Texas, that could sell him prescriptions that were printed with the names of various doctors and pain clinics in the Houston area. Fair began purchasing 35-45 prescriptions per week for $100 each, and typically spent approximately $3,000 to $5,000 per week purchasing prescriptions. Fair stated upon receiving the prescriptions, he had them filled at (the pharmacy)," the affidavit said.

Initially, Fair took several people to the pharmacy almost daily to have the fraudulent prescriptions filled, paying these individuals $30 each. He told investigators that each individual was required to show identification at the pharmacy to have the prescriptions filled.

Fair told lawmen that in January 2010, he asked a pharmacy employee if he could stop bringing so many people to the pharmacy and simply bring their identification. He said the pharmacy agreed to the arrangement and never questioned him as to why he was bringing so many people, and never attempted to verify the prescriptions.

According to Carruth, Fair said that after that point, he was allowed to drop off the scripts at the drive-through window of the pharmacy but was also told that it would only be able to fill a limited number of prescriptions. Fair said he was instructed to bring in six prescriptions per day, five days a week, two weeks per month; and six prescriptions per day, three days a week, for the other two weeks of the month.

"Fair stated that he paid the pharmacy cash on each transaction, and would bring gifts to the employees of the pharmacy and tip them cash. Fair reported making an average profit of $5,000 to $6,500 per week selling prescription pills," Carruth said in his affidavit.

Brian H. Ratcliff of El Dorado has been appointed to represent Fair. Matthew Quinn of Fort Smith represents the U.S. Attorney's Office in the case.

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