Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 42 • October 28, 2011

On Thursday, the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education program hosted a candlelight vigil remembering those who have lost their lives to drug overdoses and those who are struggling with their battles with addiction. The evening was also one of hope. I was grateful to share the efforts that we have taken in all levels of government to protect Floridians from prescription drug abuse.

A perfect example of the collaboration among government entities to fight this problem is today's roundtable discussion and announcement. I joined federal, state and local partners who are committed to fighting prescription drug abuse for a roundtable discussion. Afterwards, United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, United States Attorney of the Middle District of Florida Robert O'Neill and others announced that 22 people have been arrested as a result of Operation Pill Nation II.

The cases announced today were investigated by the DEA; the Tampa Police Department; the Manatee County, Fla., Sheriff's Office; the Lakeland, Fla., Police Department; the Pinellas County, Fla., Sheriff's Office; the New Port Richey, Fla., Police Department; the Naples, Fla., Police Department; the Fort Myers, Fla., Police Department; the Hillsborough County, Fla., Sheriff's Office; and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Middle District of Florida.

We will continue these efforts to protect Floridians. Public awareness is a key component in prevention. Tomorrow, the DEA is hosting National Drug Take-Back Day. I encourage those of you who have unnecessary prescription drugs in your homes to take them to a nearby location so they can be disposed of properly. Please visit and click on the banner to find locations.

In the News
USA Today - States target prescriptions by 'pill mills'
St. Petersburg Times - Too many babies suffering drug withdrawal
Fox News - Reporter's Notebook: Lack of Laws Lead to Prescription Drug Dealing Epidemic

Protecting Floridians
Miami-Dade County Home Health Aide Arrested for Defrauding Medicaid Out of More Than $2,000

Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that a Miami-Dade county resident is in custody after being charged with defrauding the Florida Medicaid program out of more than $2,000. Lissette Cruz, 39, of Hialeah, was arrested Tuesday on a felony warrant by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Hialeah Police Department.

Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution’s Case Results in 60-Year Sentence for Gang Member

Attorney General Pam Bondi announced on Thursday that Eric Santiago, a Manatee County gang member, was sentenced to sixty years in prison after being found guilty during a retrial on criminal charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Santiago, 25, was a member of the East Side Crips, a violent gang that has terrorized Manatee County through house and car burglaries, assaults, drug sales, violence against law enforcement and other crimes. Click here for the full release.

Attorney General Pam Bondi Joins National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the State Attorneys General and Ad Council to Unveil New Public Service Advertising Campaign to Urge Young Adult Drivers to ‘Stop the Texts’ and ‘Stop the Wrecks’

Eighty-two percent of young adult drivers (16-24) have read a standard text message while driving, according to a national survey conducted by the Ad Council. In an effort to educate young drivers about the dangers of texting while driving, Attorney General Pam Bondi, the State Attorneys General and consumer protection agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council are launching a new public service advertising campaign (PSA) nationwide. The campaign includes TV, radio, outdoor and digital PSAs. Additionally, to extend the campaign messages online, new Facebook, Twitter and YouTube social media channels went live on Thursday. For the full release, click here.

Attorney General Bondi Speaks at JA Girls Event: Smart Women Make Change

Attorney General Bondi was the keynote speaker at the Jacksonville Junior Achievement Luncheon this week where she addressed girls participating in local Junior Achievement programs as well as the local business community and the University of North Florida Board of Directors. She shared her experiences in her path to the position of Attorney General, her inspirations and thanked the girls for their hard work and their commitment to excellence.