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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-048

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

VENTURA COUNTY DOCTOR AND PHARMACIST PLEAD GUILTY TO ILLEGALLY DISTRIBUTING DRUGS


Los Angeles, CA - A physician with a medical office in Oxnard pleaded guilty today to illegally prescribing oxycontin to an East Coast man who he never treated and who had no medical purpose for the powerful painkiller.

The Ventura pharmacist who filled many of the prescriptions written by the doctor also pleaded guilty today, admitting that he sold Fentanyl to the same East Coast man who was not examined by Huff and who had no medical need for the drug.

Michael Huff, 58, of Oxnard, who owns and operates a medical practice on West Fourth Street in Oxnard, pleaded guilty this afternoon to illegally distributing a controlled substance. Appearing in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Huff admitted that he wrote a prescriptions for a Boston man for, among other things, 2000 Oxycontin tablets.

The pharmacist, Richard Ozar, 61, of Newberry Park, pleaded guilty to illegally distributing a controlled substance outside the course of his legitimate business. Ozar, who owns and operates Victoria Village Pharmacy on South Victoria Avenue in Ventura, specifically admitted that he dispensed 72 doses of Fentanyl – under the brand name Actiq – to the same man in Boston who had received a prescription from Huff.

Both Huff and Ozar admitted that Huff’s treatment of the Boston man was not in compliance with well-established and generally accepted medical guidelines, and the prescription of the drugs were without any legitimate medical purpose. Huff admitted that he prescribed the Oxycontin without conducting a thorough physical examination or any medical/diagnostic tests, and that the patient had not been to Huff’s medical clinic for at least nine months prior to the writing of Oxycontin prescription.

Ozar admitted that the Fentanyl was not for a legitimate medical purpose, partially because Huff had written prescriptions for large quantities of various controlled substances and the patient paid for the drugs with large cashiers checks bearing the names of other people.

Huff and Ozar are scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Gary A. Feess on July 17. At sentencing, Huff is expected to receive a 41-month prison term, and Ozar is expected to be placed on probation, which will include six months of home detention. Both men have agreed to surrender their professional licenses.

The case against Huff and Ozar is the result of an investigation by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the Burbank Police Department, which received assistance from IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, the California Medical Board and the California Board of Pharmacy.

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Release No. 06-048

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