News and Press Releases

Local Physician Charged with Unlawfully Selling Prescriptions for Highly Addictive Painkillers

May 25, 2011

Las Vegas, Nev. – A Las Vegas doctor has been indicted by the federal grand jury for selling prescriptions for controlled substances to persons who lacked medical necessity for the drugs, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

James E. Tinnell, M.D., 74, of Las Vegas, is charged with 12 counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances, specifically oxycodone and hydrocodone. The indictment was returned by the grand jury on May 18, 2011, and unsealed today.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office has partnered with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to fight prescription drug abuse in Nevada," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "Part of this effort includes the targeting and investigation of local physicians who are unlawfully writing and selling prescriptions that are not being issued for a legitimate medical purpose or in the usual course of professional practice."

Federal agents arrested Tinnell yesterday in Las Vegas, and he is scheduled to make an initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leavitt at 3:00 p.m. today. If convicted, Dr. Tinnell faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

According to the indictment, Tinnell is a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Nevada who maintained a medical practice at 2900 E. Desert Inn Road, Suite 108, in Las Vegas. Tinnell represented himself to be a specialist in pain management and an advocate of medical marijuana therapy. Between June 10, 2010, and April 26, 2011, Tinnell allegedly sold prescriptions for large quantities of various highly addictive prescription drugs, including Percocet (oxycodone), Hydrocodone, Xanax and Soma, without medical necessity.

The case is being investigated by the DEA and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Crane M. Pomerantz.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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