WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal drug agents say they've arrested at least 18 people and halted prescription writing by dozens of doctors and a pharmacist.
They say the arrests came Wednesday in a crackdown on illegal sales of medications over the Internet.
The Drug Enforcement Administration shut down at least 4,600 Web sites the suspects controlled and seized 2,400 checks and money orders written by individuals for $200 each. They also seized seven luxury cars and boxes of cash not yet counted in the yearlong multi-agency investigation dubbed "Operation CYBERx."
Among them were five people the DEA identified as ringleaders -- including Johar Saran of Arlington, Texas. The agency alleges he ran 22 Internet "pharmacies" in the Dallas area.
The agency also says Saran sold codeine cough syrup to local drug traffickers from the back of his warehouses. Agents say he bought more than 70,000 pints of the syrup in one year that was used by high school and college students.