Seven people suspected of being involved in a stolen prescription-drug ring were arrested Thursday by Mesa police after a six-week investigation.
Catherine Padilla, 47, former manager of the Mesa Pain Management Center, 777 W. Southern Ave., was arrested at about 11 a.m. along with six others on suspicion of participating in a criminal syndicate, and drug-related offenses, according to police.
Padilla, of Gilbert, who was fired from her job in April, called in prescriptions to pharmacies throughout the East Valley using a doctor's and nurse practitioner's name that allowed her family members and others to obtain prescriptions, according to a police report. The fraud went on for a number of years, police said.
In the last year alone, Padilla and her husband, Robert Padilla, and son, Nick, obtained 57 prescriptions, according to records from the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, police said.
Most of the prescriptions were for painkillers, according to police. The drugs were used or sold and sometimes traded for services ring members pursued, police said.
Of those 57 prescriptions, 53 were confirmed to be obtained by forged prescriptions in the doctor's name, according to a police report.
Josh Jones, a former co-worker of Robert Padilla's, also was arrested on suspicion of drug-related and trafficking in stolen property offenses as part of the ring. Jones told police he was addicted to painkillers and paid Padilla $100 for each prescription of Norco, according to police.
During a search warrant executed at the home of Jones' brother, Tommy Lee Jones Jr., 29, of Mesa, police confiscated three guns and arrested him for his alleged involvement in the ring.
The other two people arrested on suspicion for their participation in the ring were the girlfriends of the Jones brothers, Michelle Hamilton, 24, and Alisa Van Ginkel, according to police.