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Ex-agent faces drug-ring charges

by Tribune News Service | January 10, 2021 at 3:27 a.m.

MIAMI -- A former federal agent and three other people were indicted last week on charges of dealing painkillers in Miami-Dade County, including an allegation that the agent tipped off the ring under investigation.

Alberico Ahias Crespo, an ex-agent with the Department of Health and Human Services who had worked on a federal strike force over the past decade, was charged with conspiring to distribute oxycodone, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Crespo's attorneys, Marc Seitles and Jose Quinon, declined to comment Friday.

Crespo, 46, was charged along with three suspected members of the painkiller racket that the health care strike force had targeted: Jorge Diaz Gutierrez, 66; Yandre Trujillo Hernandez, 41; and Anais Lorenzo, 32.

Diaz, identified in the indictment as a patient recruiter, was charged with drug trafficking, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. The other two defendants were charged only as part of the trafficking conspiracy.

According to an FBI criminal complaint, the corruption investigation was launched in March 2019.

Crespo and Diaz were recorded on wiretaps talking about protecting each other, issuing Santeria religious curses and threatening to kill snitches in the underlying oxycodone investigation.

Both men were arrested in July, but their indictment was delayed by the federal grand jury because it was unable to convene during the covid-19 pandemic until recently.

Crespo is accused of using his position in the strike force to tip off Diaz about an investigation into a Hialeah doctor, Rodolfo Gonzalez-Garcia, according to federal prosecutors Sean McLaughlin and Christopher Clark.

Gonzalez-Garcia pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud and other charges in 2019 for unlawfully prescribing and dispensing oxycodone pills. Three other defendants also pleaded guilty to similar offenses.

Diaz worked as a narcotics distributor for the doctor's clinic, the FBI complaint says, while also receiving kickbacks for the patient referrals.

Crespo regularly alerted Diaz about the status of the strike force's investigation into the alleged oxycodone ring, according to the complaint.

Diaz told a confidential federal source that he had been recruiting patients and buying and selling oxycodone prescriptions for years and that Crespo was well aware of his criminal activities, the complaint says.

The federal public defender's office, which is representing Diaz, could not be reached for comment.

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