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State shuts down pharmacy in Duluth

DULUTH - State authorities closed a Duluth pharmacy Friday whose owner was recently sent to jail for practicing without a license.

The Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency closed the Santa Fe Pharmacy for filling "a significant number of fraudulent prescriptions," authorities said.

In addition, the pharmacy had no working pharmacist overseeing the facility - which violates Georgia law - after management fired the business' sole pharmacist in late February. The Georgia State Board of Pharmacy ordered the suspension late Friday.

"Pharmacies and pharmacy owners are expected to maintain certain standards of practice to prohibit the distribution of controlled substances," said Secretary of State Karen Handel in a release. "An investigation proved that this pharmacy failed to meet those standards."

Two weeks ago, authorities arrested two Gwinnett residents during a raid for allegedly posing as doctors - and a third person for allegedly forging prescriptions - at a Duluth clinic under the same name.

One suspect, Manuel Lozano, 43, of Suwanee, owns the Santa Fe Pharmacy, authorities said.

Police said the suspects catered to a mostly Hispanic clientele in a shopping center space at 3750 Venture Drive, near Interstate 85.

Along with Lozano, Sheila Colon-Villarrubia, 27, of Norcross, was charged with practicing medicine without a license.

A third suspect, Dilana Infante, 19, is charged with two counts of forgery for allegedly faking prescriptions. She worked as a clinic receptionist, police said.

The investigation also revealed that patients treated at the clinic were later admitted to Gwinnett Medical Center for further care. It was unclear if the hospital visits were triggered by clinic practices, or if patients' existing conditions had deteriorated.

Lozano posted $11,100 bond and was released from the Gwinnett County Jail on Feb. 28.