Friday, August 17, 2012
Carmel on the Case: Pill Mill
The feds teaming up with local officials and cracking down on a clinic accused of writing prescriptions for trouble. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero the first to report on South Florida's pill mill epidemic and has more for us tonight.
WSVN -- Federal and state agents moved in just as the clinic opened for business. They were armed with a search warrant that took years of investigation and undercover buys to get.
By the end of the day, owners and the doctors who worked for them were arrested and facing serious charges.
Kevin Stanfill, Drug Enforcement Administration: "This is part of the original Pill Mill Nation that we started two years ago, we're continuing with that. We're building our cases. As you know to make a case against a doctor takes a lot of time."
Steven Edson is one of the clinic owners. As his patients watched he was taken to jail.
Carmel Cafiero: "How much money were you making here?"
Steven Edson, Clinic Owner: "Not much."
Carmel Cafiero: "How long did you run this place?"
Steven Edson: "About three to four years."
Carmel Cafiero: "You're out of business now, what does that mean?"
Steven Edson: "A lot of people are going to suffer."
Carmel Cafiero: "Including you?"
Steven Edson: "Yes."
But authorities say Pompano Beach Medical took in more than a million dollars in 2010. The former owners of the clinic were also arrested today along with several doctors who had worked there. Charges range from racketeering to illegally prescribing a controlled substance. The doctors reportedly made three to ten thousand dollars a week and gave undercover agents thousands of pills.
Mark Trouville, Drug Enforcement Administration: "A healthy undercover DEA agent received several prescriptions of what we call a drug cocktail of pain medications to include Oxycodone, Xanax and Meloxicam. Folks, these medications prescribed to this undercover agent is not only dangerous, but when taken together can cause coma, overdose and death."
Ten guns, three rifles and seven vehicles were also seized.
Sheriff Al Lamberti: "You know, I still don't get it. You go to medical school for ten years to learn how to save lives and all you end up doing is ruining lives."
Carmel Cafiero: "Agents put up this newspaper. They've spent most of the day inside the clinic going through documents, but when they're finished this door will be locked, and based on the action today it may be locked permanently."