Every tax is a pay cut. Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation
|"Black market pharmacy" shut down||Tuesday, August 28, 2007|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
A Medway man was running a "black market pharmacy" out of his Hollis Street convenience store, a prosecutor said in Framingham District Court yesterday.
Carlos Araujo, 51, also sold counterfeit Massachusetts identification cards complete with an official seal, as well as cigarettes without a tax stamp out of his Globo Express store at 40 Hollis St., prosecutor Michael Rubin said.
"He was running a black market pharmacy," said Rubin. "It was known around town that you could buy identification from Mr. Araujo."
Araujo, of 9 High St., was arrested Saturday at 7 p.m. almost by luck, Police Chief Steven Carl said.
Detective Matt Gutwill and Sgt. Scott Brown, both narcotics officers, were walking by Globo Express when they looked inside and noticed a man buying an item from a cooler behind the counter, according to an affidavit filed in court.
The officers stopped the man, who told police he had just purchased amoxicillin from the store.
Inside, the two officers confronted the clerk, later identified as Araujo, and asked him if he was selling prescription drugs.
"The clerk told Sgt. Brown that he did sell the items ...," said Gutwill in the affidavit. "Sgt. Brown asked Araujo if he was aware that he needs a (pharmacist's) license to sell medication like that. Araujo replied, 'Yes.' "
Araujo is not a licensed pharmacist, police said.
Araujo gave the officers permission to search the store, and they found dozens of pills, including pseudophedrine, an antihistamine; "Bactrine, an antibiotic; Nordette, an oral contraceptive, as well as other birth control pills; and dozens of unidentified medications. Most of the drugs were Brazilian-based, with Portuguese names on them.
An officer also found marijuana in the store.
The officers found a list of 20 different medications that showed Araujo bought the drugs in bulk to sell. The drugs appeared to come from Brazil.
Gutwill also found cash throughout the building, including $8,000 in Araujo's pocket, $14,000 in $1 bills in a plastic bin, and $2,800 in change.
Araujo claimed he was hiding the money for his daughter. He also said his entire life savings was $40,000 found in a lock box. However, police found a statement that showed he had $105,000 in the bank.
"Detective (Larry) Hendry asked Araujo if he pays taxes on the business. He replied, 'No, I have not paid taxes in years,' " Gutwill wrote.
The officers also found dozens of fake Massachusetts identifications with a state seal on them. Police found records for 172 applications for IDs.
They also found hundreds of packs of cigarettes without tax stamps.
The discovery was disturbing, Chief Carl said.
"It's not cocaine or heroin, but it is still illegal," said Carl. "People are self-medicating. Besides being dangerous, it's a concern to the community."
Police spokesman Lt. Paul Shastany said the items were being sold to illegal immigrants.
Police do not know how long Araujo has been selling the drugs and identifications but suspect it has been going on for a while.
"Based on the amounts of money, it shows he didn't set up shop yesterday," said Carl. "This was a continuing activity."
Although he was not producing driver's licenses, the identifications could lead to illegal immigrants getting legitimate IDs, Shastany said.
Prosecutor Rubin asked Judge Robert Greco to set bail at $50,000.
The arrest proves the department has to do more to build trust within the Brazilian community, Carl said.
"We had a successful illegal enterprise in the midst of legal businesses," the chief said. "No one told us about it. We have to foster trust. If the trust was there, and the fear wasn't. This type of behavior could have been stopped."
Araujo was charged with two counts of illegal distribution of a Class E substance, illegal possession of a Class B substance with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, possession and sale of unstamped cigarettes, the use of the state's seal for commercial purposes and the illegal manufacturing of identifications.
"I would suggest he has the means and the ability to create other identifications," Rubin said.
Greco set bail at $10,000. A family member paid the bail in $100 bills within minutes of the arraignment. Araujo is due back in court on Sept. 18 for a pretrial conference.
"This is just the beginning of the investigation," said Carl. "We will be working with local, state and federal authorities."
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