Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Five charged with distributing narcotics through Tampa pain clinics and pharmacy

TAMPA — Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment Wednesday charging five people, including a pharmacist, with an elaborate conspiracy to illegally distribute narcotics through local pain clinics and a pharmacy.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration raided the Tampa Bay Wellness Centre, Superior Injury Center and VIP Pharmacy, all on W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, on May 20 following complaints from neighboring businesses, pharmacies, patients' families and a former employee of the Wellness Centre, Dr. Ronald Heromin.

Heromin complained someone had forged some of his prescriptions to give high dosages of oxycodone and other narcotics to patients. He told the St. Petersburg Times in May that he quit the clinic and reported fraud to the DEA to protect his license.

The owners of the two clinics — Louis Fernandez Jr, 65, Louis Fernandez III, 39, and Marco Beltran, 40 — are accused of illegally dispensing drugs by using the DEA registration number of a doctor without his permission and forging his signature, providing patients with false documentation to support narcotic prescriptions, allowing someone unlicensed to dispense drugs and not requiring a prescription for drug dispensation.

Neighbors said the Tampa Bay Wellness Centre sometimes operated well into the night and gave out prescriptions for 300 oxycodone pills at a time.

Prosecutors said Christopher Switlyk, 32, a pharmacist and owner of VIP Pharmacy, knowingly filled the fraudulent prescriptions. A pharmacy employee, Kimberly Curtiss, 23, was also indicted.

Switlyk was also charged with conspiring to launder money with Beltran, who was also a pharmacy employee.

Switlyk and Beltran used five cashier's checks in April totaling $169,000 to pay for a house on W Swann Avenue, and spent $20,000 on a 2007 Lincoln MKX sport utility vehicle, according to the indictment.

Nearly $6 million, a house, the SUV and a Rolex will be forfeited if the group is convicted.

Each of the defendants, all of whom are from Tampa, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy charge. Beltran and Switlyk face an additional 20 years for the conspiracy to launder money indictment.

Five charged with distributing narcotics through Tampa pain clinics and pharmacy 12/15/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NATO rolls out the red carpet, buffs its image for Trump

    World

    BRUSSELS — NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for U.S. President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, the military alliance — which Trump once declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth more than 1 billion euros.

  2. Taiwan becomes first in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage

    World

    TAIPEI, Taiwan — In a first for Asia, Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Wednesday, punctuating a yearslong campaign by advocates for gay rights in one of the continent's most liberal democracies.

    Same-sex marriage supporters wave rainbow Taiwan flags after the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Wednesday, making the island the first place in Asia to recognize gay unions. [Associated Press]
  3. 'Top Gun' sequel? Tom Cruise says it starts filming soon

    Blogs

    Tom Cruise is once again feeling the need for speed.

    Tom Cruise starred in "Top Gun" in 1986, and said he'll begin work on a sequel within the next year.
  4. Trump presents Pope Francis with sculpture made by Florida artist

    Blogs

    An artist from Stuart, Florida, made a bronze sculpture that President Trump presented today to Pope Francis.

  5. What could have been the game-winning blast turned into a long single for Colby Rasmus.