3 arrested in NYC painkiller scheme

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NEW YORK — Authorities say two mom-and-pop pharmacies in New York City were fronts for a scheme to distribute 500,000 highly addictive painkillers to a burgeoning black market.

Federal prosecutors announced conspiracy charges on Thursday against three people, including a couple that owned the pharmacies in Queens and Brooklyn.

Prosecutors say the 500,000 oxycodone pills were distributed over a five-year period and had a street value of up to $15 million. They say the couple used some of the illicit proceeds to buy a $2 million home in Connecticut.

Prosecutors say that in a conversation with an undercover agent, one of the pharmacy owners referred to the pills as “candies.”