Tuesday, December 14, 2010
7 News Investigations: VIP Raid
A Broward County pain clinic shut down because of neighborhood complaints has opened again in the same neighborhood, but now its future is in question after a raid by law enforcement. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case with this exclusive report.
WSVN -- An alphabet soup of law enforcement agencies descended on a clinic that opened a few months ago in a corner of northwest Broward.
Our camera was rolling as boxes of records were seized patients questioned and some arrested by members of a task force made up of the Broward Sheriff's Office. Florida Highway Patrol - Florida Department of Law Enforcement and all led by the drug enforcement administration.
The name on the building is Dr. J.A. Danton. Originally the J stood for Jack but on this day he was dressed as a woman and according to state licensing records, he has changed the first name on his medical license to Jacalyn.
Carmel Cafiero: "Dr. Danton what do you have to say about what's taking place here at your clinic today?"
Dr. Danton: "It's a travesty."
Carmel Cafiero: "In what sense? Aren't you running a pain clinic?"
Dr. Danton: "No I'm not."
Carmel Cafiero: You're not? Why are all these people coming from other states then to get oxycodones from you?"
Dr. Danton: "You'll have to talk to my lawyer."
Dr. Danton looked very different the first time we saw him. It was last summer and he appeared to be examining a patient outside the clinic. At that time it was located in this small office building.
Rick Fiorello: "This is absolutely ridiculous. Right next door to a kids daycare here. Are you kidding me?
As 7 News first reported, residents and business owners were disturbed by the number of people VIP family health associates clinic brought into their once quiet neighborhood.
Darby Kinni: "We get a lot of people loitering, coming in and out all day long and standing in line and sitting on the steps and coming in from other states and it's really strange."
One afternoon, when BSO deputies started questioning customers, this woman had to be taken away on a stretcher. This man got arrested and this woman went after our camera.
Carmel Cafiero: "Don't touch the camera lady."
The clinic lost its lease and neighbors thought the drama would soon be over, but it moved into another building just down the street and it was business as usual until the raid.
And as neighbors came by time and again they thanked agents for taking action.
Jack Tokatlian: "I am so happy. I guess this is the end you know."
Rick Fiorello: "This is great, I mean, I feel good about it. I just want my neighborhood back to the way it was. That's all."
And although Dr. Danton insists he's not operating a pain clinic, this man who refused to give his name, he had come a long way to see him.
Carmel Cafiero: "Why would you come all the way from Ohio to go to a doctor here?
Ohio man: "Because I can't get anything back home, but it don't matter."
Carmel Cafiero: "Well, when you say anything, you mean pills."
Ohio man: "No I mean pain management."
Here's how Dr. Danton describes his practice.
Dr. Jack Danton: "There are no other doctors that have a program that I developed and these people are all coming so I can wean them off of drugs. They're not coming to get drugs, they're coming here so I can help wean them off drugs without withdrawal and that's all I have to say."
Carmel Cafiero: At this point, the clinic appears to be out of business although no charges have been filed against the owner or the doctor. Authorities refuse to discuss the raid except to say it is part - of an ongoing investigation."