ST. GEORGE, Utah, Oct. 31, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A man was booked into the Washington County jail for identity and prescription fraud after a pharmacy worker recognized him — due in part to the suspect’s distinctive and memorable hairstyle and neck tattoo — as the person who had picked up a fraudulent cough syrup prescription.
St. George police also collected evidence in the case including false IDs, financial cards belonging to other people, and prescription drugs and illegal drugs.
Juan Carlos Palacios, 23, faces charges of:
- Producing or transferring false identifying documents, a second-degree felony
- Two counts of unlawful acquisition/possession/transfer financial card, a third-degree felony
- Two counts of identity fraud, value less than $5,000, a third-degree felony
- Two counts of falsely obtaining or dispensing prescription, a class A misdemeanor
- Possession of a controlled substance, marijuana/spice, a class B misdemeanor
Officials, contacted by the pharmacy, located Palacios in part through the phone number he used to call the prescription in.
An investigator again made contact with Palacios to inform him he would be brought in for an interview, the probable cause statement says. When officers learned he was outside the police department with his car engine running, they went out and took his keys, with his permission.
“I located the vehicle and observed medication packaging through the windows,” the probable cause statement says. “The vehicle also had a strong odor consistent with marijuana coming from it.”
With Palacios’ permission, officers removed drugs, including three bottles of prescription cough syrup from the vehicle.
“The three bottles had various fill dates and locations including Las Vegas, NV on 09/28/2020, Pasadena, CA on 10/24/2020, and Las Vegas, NV on 10/25/2020,” the probable cause statement says. “Additionally, there were two packages that appeared to contain antibiotic tablets that had been filled in New York State on 10/25/2020. In the passenger compartment I also located a pill bottle labeled as oxycodone that was filled in Las Vegas on 08/25/2020.
“The trunk of the vehicle contained a duffel bag. Inside the duffel bag were 8 bottles that had a color and appearance consistent with typical cough syrup packaging. Some bottles had labels removed, and others had labeling consistent with Codeine based cough syrups. From the partial labels, I identified three fill locations of Oakland, CA, San Francisco, CA and Waldorf, MD.”
Palacios was handcuffed and searched.
“During the search, a bottle labeled as Codeine cough syrup was located in his front jacket pocket.”
Also found were two Visa debit cards belonging to other people, and a California driver license with Palacios’ photo but another name, police said.
“I made contact with the Walgreens where the prescription found on Juan’s person had been filled,” the arresting officer claimed. “I spoke with pharmacists who provided a description matching Juan’s appearance as the person who picked up the prescription, including a neck tattoo and a distinct hairstyle with two ponytails on top of the head.”
Palacios is being held without bail.