Pill Mill Scheme Results in Federal Charges  

Texas authorities are tough on drug crime. Federal officials are even tougher. A total of 46 people, including doctors and medical professionals, have been convicted of participating in an estimated $18 million “pill mill” scheme in Texas. The ringleader, a 61-year-old oncologist, faced multiple accounts of “conspiracy to dispense hydrocodone and possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone or carisoprodol.” 


Reports outline how the doctor and his associate would issue prescriptions for drugs to people pretending to be patients. These “patients” were recruited from the local community and homeless shelters and many were paid between $50 and $200 for their service. These “patients” were not typically seen by a doctor. They would have a conversation with an assistant who would then connect with the doctor and his medical associate. The two would then prescribe dangerous narcotics without a legitimate medical reason.


They attempted to make the prescriptions appear more legitimate by sometimes including antibiotics or other non-narcotic drugs. The prescriptions were then filled at various pill mill pharmacies before the drugs were then sold illegally on the street. The pill mill pharmacies filled bulk prescriptions for a fee and sometimes charged the recruiters between $200 and $800 per prescription. 


In all, over a nine-year period, the ringleader and his associate wrote prescriptions for more than 200,000 doses of hydrocodone, 450,000 doses of promethazine with codeine, 55,000 does of carisoprodol, and 14,000 doses of alprazolam. These drugs ended up on the streets, and estimates are they were worth around $18 million.


The pill mill was dissolved in 2020 when the DEA’s Fort Worth Tactical Diversion Squad closed in on the schemers. This year, the ringleader and five coconspirators were convicted of multiple charges at trial. Forty-one other defendants involved in the pill mill pleaded guilty to other charges prior to trial. 


The lead doctor now faces up to 100 years in federal prison for his role in the scheme. His other coconspirators face up to 20 years per count. Their money-making plans put millions of dollars worth of narcotics onto the streets, something that federal prosecutors take deadly seriously and will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Medical professionals risk losing their license to practice, as well as their reputation and could end up spending a significant portion of their life behind bars in federal prison. 


Drug crimes of this magnitude are serious and those caught up in the middle of them risk losing a great deal. It takes a skilled and experienced defense team to craft a strategy to combat significant federal drug crime charges. The team at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian has the experience and knowledge that you need to fight back against serious drug crime charges at both the state and federal levels. 


If you’ve been caught up in a serious drug crime, immediately contact the legal team at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian. We can review your situation, create a defense strategy, and work with you towards the most positive outcome for your circumstances. For a free and confidential legal consultation, contact our office right away at (972) 369-0577. 

Written by: Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Last Updated : August 14, 2023