Suspected pill mills shut down

HOUSTON – More than a dozen pharmacies and clinics in southwest Houston were raided as suspected pill mills Monday.

Shortly after 10 a.m., federal agents, sheriff's deputies, and Houston police descended a stretch of Bissonnet, including five offices at 9898 Bissonnet. A pain clinic called Primary Care was one of them.

Investigators said the raids were part of a long-running investigation sparked by complaints from tenants.

"A lot of people have been complaining about undesirable traffic in and out of the buildings -- in and out of the Bissonnet area for the most part. So we've tracked it down to to some pain clinics that we felt may have been operating illegally and swore out our search warrants today," said Tony Scott with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Federal agents said they believe the businesses have been illegally dispensing large quantities of painkillers.

One patient who was in the Primary Care clinic when the feds rolled in showed the scar from a recent leg operation. He said doctors had to install screws after he broke his leg, and that he depends on the clinic to manage the pain.

"It's throbbing pain. When the weather changes, it throbs. If I move it the wrong way, it starts to ache," said the patient who did not want to be identified.

But the clinic was closed Monday morning after DEA agents confiscated 45 boxes of files and office records, along with the company's computers.