Federal agents raided a Baldwin pharmacy early Monday morning and arrested the owner for the second time in eight months for allegedly filling illegal prescriptions for commonly abused painkillers.
Drug Enforcement Agency investigators arrested the pharmacist, Lutful Chowdhury, just before 9:30 a.m. at AIM Pharmacy & Surgical on Grand Avenue. The 62-year-old man was charged with illegal distribution of pharmacy narcotic following a six-month investigation, according to a DEA official who asked not to be named.
It was the second arrest for the Chowdhury, who previously pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Law enforcement officials said at the time that the pharmacist allegedly overlooked forgeries when filling dozens of prescriptions for painkillers.
Chowdhury, who was out on bail in the prior case, was handcuffed and placed inside a waiting vehicle that took him to U.S. District Court in Central Islip, where he will be arraigned on the new charges Monday.
A handwritten sign was quickly taped to the front door of the drugstore saying, “Due to emergency store is closed.”
Just below was another sign that read, “sorry we no longer carry controlled substances. Example: Oxycodone, Ambien, percocet etc.”
No customers were inside the store at the time of the arrest.
Back in June, Nassau County prosecutors said the Westbury man had filled at least 87 prescriptions for painkillers he knew were forged on stolen prescription pads.
Law enforcement officials also alleged that the forged prescriptions include those acquired by a woman who caused a fatal crash while allegedly driving high on the drugs last year.
The charges are the latest in an crackdown on pharmacists accused of skirting the law. Authorities arrested Dr. Frank Telang at his Port Jefferson Station home in December, and Dr. Stan Li of Queens in November.
Among Li’s former clients was David Laffer, who killed four people during a Medford pharmacy robbery in June, according to reports at the time.
That massacre was the first of two deadly drug store hold ups last year that prompted Nassau and Suffolk police to start new enforcement initiatives targeting prescription-related crime.