Nevada City Police make arrest related to ongoing pharmacy fraud cases in the area |

Nevada City Police make arrest related to ongoing pharmacy fraud cases in the area

Through an arrest on Tuesday, the Nevada City Police Department made headway into solving a series of what is believed to be related prescription fraud cases in the community.

Police Chief Tim Foley said Officer Shane Franssen detained 19-year-old Jose Jovhanny Velez Tuesday afternoon after reviewing surveillance video of the suspect. Velez, who is originally from Stockton, was picking up medicine at Dokimos Nevada City Pharmacy on the 700 block of Zion Street using a forged prescription.

Police officers received information weeks ago about a group of people who wandered from pharmacy to pharmacy in the local area with falsified doctor’s prescriptions, Foley said. The group used the stolen drugs to create and sell a concoction know as purple drank, which is made up of promethazine and codeine. The price for the drug range from $30 to $80 an ounce, Franssen said.

Employees at a Nevada City pharmacy recently contacted authorities about Velez, who has been a frequent visitor to the store, Foley said.

“The staff at the pharmacy became suspicious of the person and called the doctor who was on the prescription,” said Foley. “They found out that the doctor has never issued a prescription for him.”

Employees told the officers that Velez usually comes in at closing time in order to gather the medicine and leave promptly.

Officers set up an undercover surveillance at the pharmacy on Monday night but the suspect never showed up. Foley said Franssen made the determination to contact the pharmacy Tuesday to get a surveillance video of Velez. Franssen caught Valez with the help of the store employees.

“Later in the afternoon he came in to pick the prescription, they (the employees) stalled him by delaying the time of pick up,” Franssen added.

Velez was booked into county jail Tuesday evening on felony charges of obtaining a controlled substance for fraud, forgery and a second-degree burglary.

Franssen said the Nevada City Police Department is cooperating with the Grass Valley Police in an ongoing investigation into the multiple counts of pharmacy fraud in the area. But, he said, it’s not clear at this point how many people are involved in the group.

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please call 530-477-4236, or email

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