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Doctor to plead guilty to drug charges for prescription violation

A California physician intends to plead guilty to serious federal charges after he reportedly illegally distributed powerful prescription narcotics. The 78-year-old Los Angeles-area man is accused of federal drug trafficking charges in connection with the practices. The man has admitted that he illegally prescribed drugs such as Xanax and hydrocodone, both powerful, controlled medications.

The defendant has agreed to forfeit the profits that he earned from the illegal prescription distribution. That amount adds up to more than $554,000, according to official reports. The man reportedly prescribed the medication during the time period between January 2011 and May 2012. He was apparently apprehended when he sold medication to several patients who were actually undercover police officers -- they did not have a justifiable medical need for those drugs.

Defendants who are facing similar criminal allegations need to make sure that their personal property was not subject to illegal search and/or seizure. When officers and investigators begin investigating drug cases, they are required to follow a strict set of protocols designed to protect the criminal defendant. A variety of legal barriers prohibit officers from simply harassing a defendant without probable cause. If those strict rules are not followed, evidence obtained during the searches may be eliminated from the courtroom entirely.

It does not appear as though the defendant in this case suffered because authorities illegally searched his personal property. An assessment of the man's accounts, however, found that he had hundreds of thousands of dollars in a personal account designed to apparently hide the patients' payments for the drugs. The defendant could face several decades in prison when he is sentenced. A date for that hearing has not yet been set.

Source: The Santa Clarita Valley News, "LA doctor admits to dealing drugs" No author given, Jun. 19, 2014

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