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18 arrested in pharmacy drug ring

Two leaders in federal court over alleged $300,000 theft
By: Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor
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Auburn Police arrested two men in connection with an estimated $300,000 in prescription drug thefts from more than 80 pharmacies in 21 cities and five counties, including the city of Auburn and Placer County. On Monday, Raymond Reyes, 28, of Lincoln, and Brandon Savaloja, 25, of Orangevale, were in a federal courtroom for a hearing regarding their arrest on charges related to an illegal prescription drug ring that started in Auburn, according to Sgt. Victor Pecoraro of the Auburn Police Department. The two suspects were arrested after a recent federal grand jury indictment, Pecoraro said. Pecoraro said the arrests of Reyes and Savaloja represent the end of an investigation that started in June 2009 when an Auburn pharmacy reported that something seemed amiss with a prescription drug order. “They realized something was wrong, they contacted us and this thing grew into the monster that it is today,” Pecoraro said Monday. Since June 2009, Auburn detectives, in conjunction with agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, have made upward of 16 arrests of people they believe were involved with the illicit prescription drug network. Pecoraro said charges for those arrested varied from illegal possession and distribution to fraud, identity theft, burglary and conspiracy. Pecoraro said the investigation ended when Reyes and Savaloja were recently indicted by a grand jury and then arrested. Auburn Police Detective Adam Cline described Reyes as the “top dog” and Savaloja as his “right-hand man” in the illegal drug network. “We believe they were involved with more than 89 different pharmacies in 21 cities and in five counties,” Pecoraro said. The pharmacies included at least two in Auburn – Rite Aid and CVS/pharmacy, which was formerly Longs Drugs. Pecoraro estimated that the illegal prescription drug network included about 97,000 pills worth about $300,000. Pecoraro said Reyes and Savaloja’s case will make its way through the federal court system. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office is handling the cases of the 16 other suspects arrested in connection with the prescription drug ring, Pecoraro said. Further information about the case will be revealed as it becomes available. Reach Jenifer Gee at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com.