NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities have charged 21 people in an extortion scheme involving fake Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
Prosecutors in New York announced the arrests on Wednesday. Seventeen people were in custody in the Dominican Republic. The other four were at large.
Authorities say the scheme targeted victims in the United States who purchased prescription drugs from the Dominican Republic over the phone or on the Internet. The defendants obtained customer information, then contacted the victims and identified themselves as DEA agents.
The defendants sought to convince the customers they could avoid arrest by paying a fine. More than $880,000 was paid before the plot was foiled.