Maryland doctor to plead guilty to federal drug charges

Maryland doctor to plead guilty to federal drug charges

A Maryland physician is expected to plead guilty to drug charges after
allegations surfaced that he was illegally prescribing high-powered painkillers
to his patients. The man is facing federal
drug charges — drug possession and distribution — in connection with the
incidents. The gynecologist with 30 years of experience has already been
required to surrender his medical license.

Authorities allege that the defendant was illegally distributing the high-octane
painkillers oxycodone, fentanyl and methadone, among other medications.
An investigation through the Maryland Board of Physicians determined that
he had been mailing painkiller drugs to female patients in other states
for years. That investigation was launched by an office worker who took
pictures of the large quantities of drugs that were being distributed
through the practice. The physician claims that he was writing prescriptions
for his romantic partner; the drug offenses did not yield him any monetary gain.

A plea deal has not yet been reached in connection with the allegations,
though additional details are likely to become available in the coming
weeks. The defendant has been a medical professional in the area since
the mid-1980s, when he opened his practice in Baltimore. He was also named
as the director of two minimally invasive surgical centers in the Greater
Baltimore area.

The defendant in this case is choosing to enter a guilty plea to the drug
offenses, ostensibly with the goal of receiving a more lenient sentence
than he would face after a conviction through a criminal trial. Guilty
pleas are useful for some criminal defendants, but they are not appropriate
for every person facing federal drug charges. Those accused of trafficking
prescription drugs should consider a variety of legal options before pursuing
a plea deal.

Source: News & Observer, “Lawyer: Md. doctor to plead guilty
to drug charge” Juliet Linderman, Associated Press, May. 19, 2014