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Press Release

Orthopedist And Former Anesthesiologist Sentenced For Drug Conspiracy And Alien Smuggling Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday has sentenced Fred Joseph Turner (60, Sarasota) and Rosetta Valerie Cannata (61, Osprey) to 12 years and 7 months in federal prison for conspiring to dispense controlled substances for no legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of medical practice, dispensing controlled substances, and conspiring to smuggle an alien into the United States. As part of the sentences, the Court also entered a $232,020 money judgment against Turner, and a $73,148 money judgment against Cannata, representing the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. A federal jury found them guilty on July 20, 2017.


According to court documents, from March 2011 through July 2015, Turner, an orthopedist, and Cannata, a former anesthesiologist, operated Gulfshore Pain and Wellness Centre, a pain management clinic with offices in Tampa and Punta Gorda. Turner and Cannata rarely conducted physical or diagnostic examinations of their patients and ignored results of patient drug screens when they prescribed excessive amounts of opiates, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and morphine.


During the investigation, several law enforcement officers entered the clinic in undercover capacities as patients. On one occasion, Turner and Cannata asked the undercover agent to smuggle a Hungarian national into the United States. In return, Turner prescribed the agent an increased amount of oxycodone and hydromorphone, and Cannata paid him $5,000 in cash. To justify the increase in prescribed medication, Turner and Cannata instructed the agent to fabricate an injury and walked him through the process of falsifying his patient history.


This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Carlton C. Gammons and Taylor G. Stout.


Updated December 12, 2017

Prescription Drugs
Human Smuggling