McComb, Miss - Dr. Lawrence Edsel Stewart, 59, of McComb, has been charged in a 27-count federal indictment with violations of Title 21 USC 841(a)(1) – knowingly and intentionally distributing and dispensing schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances outside the scope of professional medical practice, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Comeaux with the Drug Enforcement Administration - New Orleans Division. The indictment is the result of a complex pharmaceutical drug investigation that began approximately one year ago.
DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Comeaux stated: "Today’s arrest should be a shot across the bow of any would-be drug dealer who wears a lab coat and masquerades as a doctor that DEA, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, along with our local, state and federal counterparts will not tolerate this activity. The citizens of Mississippi deserve better."
Dr. Stewart was arrested in McComb and made his initial appearance in Jackson today before U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball. The case has been set for trial on February 1, 2016, before U.S. Senior District Judge David C. Bramlette III.
The maximum penalty for distributing and dispensing a Schedule III substance outside the scope of professional practice (Counts 1-4, 7-11, 13 and 16) is 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The maximum penalty for distributing and dispensing a Schedule IV substance outside the scope of professional practice (Counts 5, 6, 12, 15 & 17) is 5 years in prison and a $250,000.00. The maximum penalty for distributing and dispensing a Schedule II controlled substance outside the scope of professional practice is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Medical Board, and Mississippi Board of Nursing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Chalk is prosecuting the case.
The public is reminded that an indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.