Valleywide DEA pharmacy bust involves warrants in Surprise

Richard Smith
Independent Newsmedia

Surprise was at the center of a multi-city pharmacy bust Thursday executed Valley-wide by The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).The DEA and HSI executed multiple search and arrest warrants today, closing two Valley pharmacies and arresting a pharmacist as part of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force-designated investigation. 

On June 28, agents obtained an indictment from a federal grand jury charging Scottsdale and Phoenix-based pharmacist Vilawoe Aku Boadu, 38, with distributing controlled substances, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, and promethazine with codeine.  As a result of the operation, Ms. Boadu voluntarily surrendered her DEA registration and DEA agents took possession of the controlled substances.

“The diversion of legitimate prescription medication is partially to blame for the deadly epidemic of opioid addiction throughout the country,” said Doug Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of DEA in Arizona.  “DEA will continue to take aggressive action against those people and organizations responsible for trafficking in these powerful substances, especially those who have been legally entrusted with them and choose to break the law.”

The coordinated enforcement operation was supported by additional enforcement personnel from DEA and HSI, as well as the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Glendale Police Department, and Surprise Police Department.

Thursday’s enforcement operation consisted of a total of eight simultaneously executed warrants throughout the metro area, including three businesses. 

Surprise Police spokesman Sgt. Tim Klarkowski said the department provided assistance in the form of SWAT and crisis negotiation teams.

Agents seized 13 handguns, 3 rifles and a shotgun, several bank accounts and nearly $200,000 in cash and assets as well as several vehicles including a Mercedes-Benz.

Other subjects arrested Thursday include Michael Karron Holley, 31; Ber Rhondi Patrice Funn-McKinley, 32; and Julian Thomas Petty, 27.

“This criminal organization distributed dangerous and highly addictive controlled narcotics throughout our communities, illegal profiting from the suffering of others,” said Scott Brown, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Phoenix. “Their actions make them no different than the street-corner drug pushers. Today’s arrests should stand as a reminder to others that we will continue our joint law enforcement efforts to ensure that people in positions of trust will no longer add to the growing opioid epidemic.”

This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

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