Armenian drug-selling doctors gang headed by Mike Maserati caught in USA
The criminal group engaged in hiring physicians at fake clinics, who wrote prescriptions for narcotic drugs, which were then sold in the black market.
Los Angeles arrested 12 people suspected of illegally selling narcotic tablets through fake clinics. Among them are 36-year-old Minas Matosyan, 52-year-old Armen Simonyan, 66-year-old Grisha Sayadyan, 50-year-old Fred Minsyan, 30-year-old Khayk Matosyan, 27-year-old Anahit Guyumzhyan and 45-year-old Sabrina Guberman.
Among the arrested are one lawyer and seven owners of shell clinics, through which at least 2 million tablets have got into the black market, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, vicodin and other dangerous drugs. Almost all the arrested live in the northern suburb of Los Angeles - Glendale, and its environs, where a large community of immigrants from Armenia has formed over the years.
Minas Matosyan, dubbed Mike Maserati, is considered the leader of the gang. The charges brought against him may imprison him for up to 165 years. As suggested by the investigation, Matosyan hired physicians on behalf of whom the collusion participants issued prescriptions for the purchase of oxycodone and other narcotic drugs in pharmacies, which were then distributed through street drug dealers. The doctors received payment for their prescriptions, though they were not engaged in medical activities. According to the records of telephone conversations conducted by the FBI, Matosyan hired doctors in his clinics, offering "to stay at home and do nothing for $20,000 a month." That is, the clinics themselves actually did not conduct any activity. They closed from time to time and others opened.
According to the case materials, Mike Maserati traded the doctors themselves as well, offering them to other similar clinics. The intercepted talks say the sale of the doctor was discussed for $120,000, and when the clinic refused to pay for him and offered Matosyan to take the doctor back, he refused, demanded the money he was entitled to and said that "doctors for me are like underwear, I do not take what was worn".
In addition, prescriptions were issued on behalf of doctors, who did not know about it. The criminal group, according to the prosecution, abducted personal data of doctors, who refused to work with them. Forms with their names issued prescriptions for oxycodone, which they did not know about.
Mike Maserati was legally assisted by the arrested lawyer Fred Minasyan, who is accused of obstructing justice. When a batch of Vicodin tablets was withdrawn from one of the clients of Matosyan's clinics, he called Minasyan, who advised giving a bribe to one doctor who would lied and confirm that these pills were prescribed by law.
The remaining members of the gang engaged in selling clean forms with the names of doctors for prescriptions and together with the accomplices reported false information to pharmacists who called their clinics and cleared out the authenticity of the prescription brought.
The younger brother of Mike Maserati, Khayk Matosyan received drug-containing pills in pharmacies under counterfeit prescriptions and sold them in the black market.
Sandra Brown, the interim federal prosecutor of the Central District of California, said in the press release that the defendants "developed a complex scheme, vainly hoping to conceal a large-scale drug trade," and as a result of their actions, "not only received illegal profits, but also contributed to the epidemic of narcotic drugs that cause harm throughout the country."
Several new criminal cases against corrupt officials have been instituted in Dagestan. The high-ranked suspects include Abdulmedzhid Suleimanov, ex-Mayor of Izberbash; Amir Magomedov, ex-Head of the Izberbash Administration; Magomed Dzhelilov, Head of the Derbent District; and El’dar Karagishiev, Head of the Babayurt District. In the past, all of them were suspected of similar crimes – but somehow managed to get off the hook. The new arrests occur amid the anti-corruption campaign in the republican law enforcement structures. What are the true reasons behind the new wave of the personnel purge? Can the anti-corruption slogans conceal a fierce battle waged by local clans for redistribution of assets with the purpose to create a new ‘untouchable’ elite in Dagestan?