News and Press Releases

LAKE WORTH DOCTOR ARRESTED ON FIFTY-FIVE COUNTS OF ILLEGAL DISTRIBUTION OF OXYCODONE AT LAKE WORTH CLINIC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, announce the indictment of Cesar Deleon, 65, a doctor from Lake Worth, for his participation in the illegal distribution of pain killers. This prosecution is part of Operation Pill Nation, in which DEA and local law enforcement agencies are investigating rogue pain clinics, known as “pill mills,” in South Florida, for illegally distributing oxycodone and other controlled substances.

The indictment charges Cesar Deleon with fifty-five counts of illegally distributing oxycodone. Dr. Deleon was arrested on May 17, 2011. If convicted, Deleon faces up to twenty years’ imprisonment on each count and up to a $1,000,000 fine.

According to the indictment, Deleon operated his clinic, Trinity Medical Center, located in Lake Worth, as a pill mill that offered patients prescriptions for highly addictive oxycodone and other controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional medical practice. The indictment alleges that Deleon prescribed oxycodone without appropriate documentation establishing a valid medical need and in excessive and inappropriate quantities, and failed to conduct complete physical examinations. Deleon also prescribed additional oxycodone and controlled substances to patients who were willing to pay him higher fees. The indictment also alleges that Deleon engaged in sexual activity with female patients at the clinic and, in exchange, would write these patients prescriptions for oxycodone and other substances, and give these patients free office visits and money.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Demand for oxycodone has grown to epidemic proportions in South Florida and other parts of the United States, where drug dealers can sell a 30 milligram pill on the street for $10 to $30 and more. Operation Pill Nation is part of our concerted effort to keep South Florida from drowning in pill mills. We will continue to work with our state and local partners to shut down doctors, clinic owners and operators who deal drugs while hiding behind a medical license.”

“South Florida’s rogue pain clinics exist because of doctors who change their professional priorities from patient care to greed,” said Mark R. Trouville, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge.

The case against Deleon is a result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement.

In addition, DEA is spearheading Operation Pill Nation, an effort to disrupt and dismantle pill mills in South Florida. Additional agencies participating in Operation Pill Nation are the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office, the Broward State Attorney’s Office, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Hollywood Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud, State Fire Marshal and Workers’ Compensation and the Sunrise Police Department.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the DEA, as well as the many other state and local agencies involved in Operation Pill Nation. The federal case announced today is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaniek Maynard.

An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are assumed innocent until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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