- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Five people have been charged with illegally selling vast quantities of powerful and addictive prescription drugs - including the cough syrup nicknamed “purple drank” - and shipping some from Southern California to Texas.

Federal prosecutors say three people pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles on Tuesday to conspiracy and other charges. Two others are jailed in Houston pending extradition.

Authorities say they ran a now-closed medical clinic in Los Angeles, charging up to $500 for unnecessary prescriptions for drugs such as Vicodin.

Authorities say a doctor there issued more than 10,000 prescriptions over 15 months.

Prosecutors also contend the conspirators obtained drugs for the Texas black market, including the “purple drank” codeine cough syrup.

The alleged ringleader could be sentenced to 149 years in prison if convicted.

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