Former pharmacy owner fugitive sought in drug-trafficking case

skennedy@bradenton.comApril 11, 2013 

MANATEE -- Detectives continue to seek the whereabouts of a former pharmacy store owner wanted in connection with filling prescriptions for a drug-trafficking organization, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Ajay Patel has been wanted since May 2012 for trafficking in oxycodone from his pharmacies in Bradenton, Longboat Key and Parrish, according to a news release.

The Parrish pharmacy at 8324 U.S. 301 N., now called the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, is reportedly the only one still open.

A sign posted on the door Wednesday indicated a number of policy changes had been made "to comply with the most recent set of regulations from the State of Florida."

The pharmacy will no longer fill prescriptions for out-of-state customers and

will verify every prescription with the doctor. Other restrictions on prescription drug sales were detailed.

Three other suspects in the case involving Patel were arrested in 2010. Detectives think Patel may have fled the country, according to the sheriff's office.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call the sheriff's office at 941-747-3011, ext. 2560.

The case is a joint investigation with the statewide prosecutor's office, Osceola County Sheriff's Office, Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, Sarasota Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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