Lehigh Valley

Allentown woman arrested for role in fake prescription ring

Police allege she also cashed a forged check

Authorities have arrested an Allentown woman for her role in a forged prescription ring that used a stolen prescription pad to net nearly 2,000 Oxycodone tablets.

Brenda Y. Palacios, of South Howard Street, faces more than two dozen charges in connection to a Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office investigation that turned up at least 13 people filling forged prescriptions.

District Judge Carl Balliet arraigned the 20-year-old Tuesday night, setting bail at $25,000

Investigators with the attorney general’s narcotics bureau filed charges in June. The first six defendants - five Allentown residents and one Reading resident - surrendered that same day and were released on unsecured bail.

St. Luke’s Orthopedic Specialist at 801 Ostrum St. notified the Fountain Hill Police Department on April 7 that someone had stolen a prescription pad from the office. Fountain Hill police requested that the attorney general’s office take over the investigation.

Investigators ran a report on the doctor authorized to write prescriptions from the Fountain Hill office and came up with seven suspicious prescriptions, according to court records. While running a Pennsylvania Prescription Monitoring Program report, investigators said they found five more names they found suspicious.

Those prescriptions were written under the DEA number of a different doctor from the same practice, according to records.

Authorities said an office manager reviewed the list and found that none of the names were patients of the practice. St. Luke’s also received an anonymous email alleging that William “Drama” Huggins was the person behind the stolen prescriptions, according to records.

Court records show authorities charges Huggins with 100 counts of conspiracy and forgery. He is not in custody.

Investigators learned that prescriptions were filed at the following pharmacies:

  • Rite Aid, 1401 W. Tilghman St. in Allentown;
  • Rite Aid, 524 N. Sixth St., in Reading;
  • CVS, 1600 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., South Whitehall Twp.;
  • Rite Aid, 361 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., Allentown;
  • CVS, 2651, Easton Ave., Bethlehem;
  • Walters Pharmacy, 401 N. 17th St., Allentown;
  • Wegmans, 5000 Wegmans Drive, Hanover Twp.;
  • Rite Aid, 2108 MacArthur Road, Whitehall Twp.;
  • Kmart, 1502 S. Fourth St., Allentown;
  • CVS, 1457 Eighth Ave., Bethlehem;
  • Hartzells Pharmacy, 300 American St., Catasauqua;
  • CVS, 1601 W. Liberty St., Allentown;
  • Rite Aid, 104 E. Third St., Bethlehem;
  • Young’s Pharmacy, 3708 Freemansburg Ave., Bethlehem;
  • Rite Aid, 1628 S. Fourth St., Allentown;
  • Kmart, 4701 W. Tilghman St., South Whitehall Twp.;
  • Rite Aid, 1650 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., South Whitehall Twp.;
  • Rite Aid, 27 N. Seventh St., Allentown;
  • Giant, 2641 MacArthur Road, Whitehall Twp.

In all, investigators found 21 phony prescriptions each for 90 30mg tablets of Oxycodone. They were paid for with private insurance or Medicare.

The state attorney general has said the pills were worth about $54,000 on the street.

Authorities allege Palacios arranged a meeting between Huggins and Jannivette Medina, who allegedly filled two fake prescriptions. Catasauqua police arrested Medina in May, when she tried to pass a forged script at Walter's Pharmacy.

Medina told investigators that a "girl from the block" known as "B" introduced her to Huggins, who drove her to fill prescriptions. Medina identified "B" as Palacios.

Authorities charged Palacios with 21 counts of conspiracy, two counts each of forgery and possession of a controlled substance and single counts of identity theft and being a member of a corrupt organization.

The judge also arraigned her on separate charges of forgery and theft for allegedly cashing a phony $590 check at Family Financial in Whitehall Township on Feb. 1. Police said she provided her Pennsylvania state ID card in order to cash the check, and Family Financial took her picture before handing over the cash.

Bail in that case is set at $15,000. Palacios failed to post bail and was sent to Lehigh County Jail to await preliminary hearings scheduled for Oct. 10.


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