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Hoax Email Claims US Attorney Laura Duffy Now Targeting Storefront Pharmacies

I won't get fooled again...well I hope not. Turns out the story I posted this morning (below) about U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy targeting pharmacies was a hoax. A statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office denies any such initiative. The statement reads:

*Two press releases purporting to be from the office of U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy this morning regarding a shutdown of local pharmacies are a hoax.

“This office did not issue those press releases. We are looking into the source of the emails,” Duffy said.

Duffy will be available at 11 a.m. today in front of the federal building for on camera interviews.*

*Thanks to the Voice of San Diego for alerting me to this email!

Below is the email that was sent and the story I wrote...

***OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA San Diego, California United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy For Further Information, Contact: Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Shiner (619) 619-302-5235 For Immediate Release UNITED STATES ATTORNEY PUTS PHARMACY OPERATORS AND PROPERTY OWNERS ON NOTICE Curbing illegal drug use via shutdowns will keep communities safe. NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – July 31, 2012 United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy today announced enforcement actions against local pharmacies for distribution of drugs for illegal purposes. Immediate enforcement will target pharmacies in the Coastal areas of La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Pacific Beach; chosen for both the high rates of pharmaceutical drug abuse and high property values of targeted pharmacies. Affected pharmacies will have 45 days to shutdown in order to avoid harsher penalties.

The Pharmaceutical shutdown initiative is aimed at curtailing drug abuse and its associated societal problems in the Southern District of California. Enforcement is proceeding against twenty pharmacies in San Diego County and will include actions such as: Civil forfeiture lawsuits against properties involved in drug trafficking activity, which includes, in some cases, sales consistent with state or local ordinances; Letters of warning to the owners and lienholders of properties where potentially illegal sales are taking place; and Criminal cases targeting commercial pharmaceutical activities.

“These pharmacies are not only about providing medicine to the sick. They are part of a pervasive for-profit industry that facilitates the distribution of drugs for illegitimate use. Doctors are prescribing unneeded medication; kids are overdosing on aspirin; police are finding pill bottles at junior high schools. Addiction and abuse of these drugs are serious problems in our communities and parents have come to me with their concerns. These pharmacies have provided not just medication - prescription and otherwise - but all the serious repercussions that come with it, including significant public safety issues and often irreparable harm to our youth.” said Duffy.

The Southern District of California will be the first in the nation to confront the problems associated with drug abuse by targeting storefront pharmacies with asset forfeiture proceedings. The operation will also be a model of fiscal discipline as asset forfeiture may render enforcement efforts cost-neutral.

If successful in San Diego, Duffy’s office will lobby for the implementation of this policy throughout the United States.

“Prosecutorial discretion means I decide how and when to enforce laws. Although this action is unprecedented, in my judgment it’s necessary to ensure we continue making progress in the war on drugs. Economic decline, climate threats, cybercrime, illegal immigration, and a general loss of faith in the political process have colored these drastic times. Now is the time to get tough in a fiscally responsible way.” Duffy stated.

Asset forfeiture is the seizure of property found to have been used for an illegal purpose. The tactic has been used to nearly end access to medical marijuana in San Diego. In 2011, the Southern District of California seized $29.7 million in property using asset forfeiture.

Though initially only twenty pharmacies will be targeted for closure, the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California will continue to investigate facilities which illegally provide dangerous substances to our communities. For Press Inquiries contact: Frank Shiner, Deputy Assistant to the US Attorney, Logistics and Narcotics (619) 302-5235***

And here's my earlier story:

Move over medical marijuana, Federal Attorney Laura Duffy has a new mission in her crusade to end drug-use in the region. Now, the US Attorney for Southern California has her sight set on local pharmacies that are distributing prescription drugs illegally.

Duffy is focusing on pharmacies in Pacific Beach, La Jolla, and Carmel Valley, affluent coastal areas where prescription drug abuse is rampant.

There are already twenty pharmacies now under investigation. And, much like her war on medical marijuana dispensaries, Duffy is not only targeting the pharmacies but she is also sending warning letters to property-owners who lease their land to them, a practice that is known as "asset forfeiture proceedings."

In her fight to "end access to medical marijuana in San Diego," the Southern District of California confiscated $29.7 million in property through asset forfeiture.

The new war on pill-pushing pharmacists is the first of its kind in the country. If successful, Duffy hopes to implement similar policies on a national level.

“These pharmacies are not only about providing medicine to the sick," said Duffy. "They are part of a pervasive for-profit industry that facilitates the distribution of drugs for illegitimate use. Doctors are prescribing unneeded medication; kids are overdosing on aspirin; police are finding pill bottles at junior high schools.

These pharmacies have provided not just medication - prescription and otherwise - but all the serious repercussions that come with it, including significant public safety issues and often irreparable harm to our youth."

The US Attorney says a tough stance is needed in tough times.

“Prosecutorial discretion means I decide how and when to enforce laws. Although this action is unprecedented, in my judgment it’s necessary to ensure we continue making progress in the war on drugs. Economic decline, climate threats, cybercrime, illegal immigration, and a general loss of faith in the political process have colored these drastic times. Now is the time to get tough in a fiscally responsible way."

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I won't get fooled again...well I hope not. Turns out the story I posted this morning (below) about U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy targeting pharmacies was a hoax. A statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office denies any such initiative. The statement reads:

*Two press releases purporting to be from the office of U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy this morning regarding a shutdown of local pharmacies are a hoax.

“This office did not issue those press releases. We are looking into the source of the emails,” Duffy said.

Duffy will be available at 11 a.m. today in front of the federal building for on camera interviews.*

*Thanks to the Voice of San Diego for alerting me to this email!

Below is the email that was sent and the story I wrote...

***OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA San Diego, California United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy For Further Information, Contact: Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Shiner (619) 619-302-5235 For Immediate Release UNITED STATES ATTORNEY PUTS PHARMACY OPERATORS AND PROPERTY OWNERS ON NOTICE Curbing illegal drug use via shutdowns will keep communities safe. NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – July 31, 2012 United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy today announced enforcement actions against local pharmacies for distribution of drugs for illegal purposes. Immediate enforcement will target pharmacies in the Coastal areas of La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Pacific Beach; chosen for both the high rates of pharmaceutical drug abuse and high property values of targeted pharmacies. Affected pharmacies will have 45 days to shutdown in order to avoid harsher penalties.

The Pharmaceutical shutdown initiative is aimed at curtailing drug abuse and its associated societal problems in the Southern District of California. Enforcement is proceeding against twenty pharmacies in San Diego County and will include actions such as: Civil forfeiture lawsuits against properties involved in drug trafficking activity, which includes, in some cases, sales consistent with state or local ordinances; Letters of warning to the owners and lienholders of properties where potentially illegal sales are taking place; and Criminal cases targeting commercial pharmaceutical activities.

“These pharmacies are not only about providing medicine to the sick. They are part of a pervasive for-profit industry that facilitates the distribution of drugs for illegitimate use. Doctors are prescribing unneeded medication; kids are overdosing on aspirin; police are finding pill bottles at junior high schools. Addiction and abuse of these drugs are serious problems in our communities and parents have come to me with their concerns. These pharmacies have provided not just medication - prescription and otherwise - but all the serious repercussions that come with it, including significant public safety issues and often irreparable harm to our youth.” said Duffy.

The Southern District of California will be the first in the nation to confront the problems associated with drug abuse by targeting storefront pharmacies with asset forfeiture proceedings. The operation will also be a model of fiscal discipline as asset forfeiture may render enforcement efforts cost-neutral.

If successful in San Diego, Duffy’s office will lobby for the implementation of this policy throughout the United States.

“Prosecutorial discretion means I decide how and when to enforce laws. Although this action is unprecedented, in my judgment it’s necessary to ensure we continue making progress in the war on drugs. Economic decline, climate threats, cybercrime, illegal immigration, and a general loss of faith in the political process have colored these drastic times. Now is the time to get tough in a fiscally responsible way.” Duffy stated.

Asset forfeiture is the seizure of property found to have been used for an illegal purpose. The tactic has been used to nearly end access to medical marijuana in San Diego. In 2011, the Southern District of California seized $29.7 million in property using asset forfeiture.

Though initially only twenty pharmacies will be targeted for closure, the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California will continue to investigate facilities which illegally provide dangerous substances to our communities. For Press Inquiries contact: Frank Shiner, Deputy Assistant to the US Attorney, Logistics and Narcotics (619) 302-5235***

And here's my earlier story:

Move over medical marijuana, Federal Attorney Laura Duffy has a new mission in her crusade to end drug-use in the region. Now, the US Attorney for Southern California has her sight set on local pharmacies that are distributing prescription drugs illegally.

Duffy is focusing on pharmacies in Pacific Beach, La Jolla, and Carmel Valley, affluent coastal areas where prescription drug abuse is rampant.

There are already twenty pharmacies now under investigation. And, much like her war on medical marijuana dispensaries, Duffy is not only targeting the pharmacies but she is also sending warning letters to property-owners who lease their land to them, a practice that is known as "asset forfeiture proceedings."

In her fight to "end access to medical marijuana in San Diego," the Southern District of California confiscated $29.7 million in property through asset forfeiture.

The new war on pill-pushing pharmacists is the first of its kind in the country. If successful, Duffy hopes to implement similar policies on a national level.

“These pharmacies are not only about providing medicine to the sick," said Duffy. "They are part of a pervasive for-profit industry that facilitates the distribution of drugs for illegitimate use. Doctors are prescribing unneeded medication; kids are overdosing on aspirin; police are finding pill bottles at junior high schools.

These pharmacies have provided not just medication - prescription and otherwise - but all the serious repercussions that come with it, including significant public safety issues and often irreparable harm to our youth."

The US Attorney says a tough stance is needed in tough times.

“Prosecutorial discretion means I decide how and when to enforce laws. Although this action is unprecedented, in my judgment it’s necessary to ensure we continue making progress in the war on drugs. Economic decline, climate threats, cybercrime, illegal immigration, and a general loss of faith in the political process have colored these drastic times. Now is the time to get tough in a fiscally responsible way."

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