Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg doctor charged with running illegal pain clinic in Citrus County

CRYSTAL RIVER — A St. Petersburg doctor who was accused in 2011 of helping operate an illegal pain clinic in Pasco County was arrested again Thursday on charges that he was doing the same thing in Citrus County.

Dr. Daniel McIntire, 57, faces two counts of trafficking in the painkiller oxycodone, Citrus County sheriff's officials said.

He and another doctor, Dennis Varel, opened Central Pain Clinic in Crystal River last year, but never registered it with the state. Varel died Jan. 10 of an apparent drug overdose, sheriff's officials said.

The clinic, which deputies had been investigating for about a year, has dispensed 1.5 million narcotic pills since it opened, authorities said, with an estimated street value of more than $12 million.

McIntire wrote as many as 172 prescriptions in a five-hour time frame — about 34 prescriptions per hour, deputies said. Patients came to the clinic from as far away as Colorado and New Jersey seeking drugs that included oxycodone, Xanax, Soma and methadone.

"This is a serious and very deadly business," Detective John Bergen, the case's lead investigator, said in a news release. "We are making these investigations our priority."

In December 2011, McIntire was among three staff members arrested at the Harbour Medical Group in Land O'Lakes on charges that they wrote excessive prescriptions for powerful drugs.

The charges against McIntire in that case were dropped about a month later, court records show. The reason is unclear.

His co-defendants in the case, Dr. William Crumbley, a Tampa doctor who allegedly ran the clinic after having his medical license suspended, and Ronald York, the clinic director, both still have court cases pending, according to records.

Charges were also dropped in what was perhaps McIntire's most serious brush with the law. In 2004, authorities in Broward County charged him with kidnapping and 11 counts of sexual battery, according to state law records. The circumstances that led to those charges were unclear Thursday, but prosecutors did not pursue the case.

Records show that McIntire had an active license to practice as an osteopathic physician in Florida. He also has a history of disciplinary action against him related to a previous conviction for fraud. The Department of Health issued an emergency suspension of his license after his arrest Thursday.

Sheriff's officials said a group of patients sat in the waiting room of McIntire's Crystal River clinic when deputies arrived Thursday. People in nearby offices cheered and clapped as detectives surrounded the building.

McIntire sat silently with his hands cuffed behind him while a deputy read aloud from a search warrant. The doctor was later booked in the Citrus County Jail and held on $200,000 bail.

St. Petersburg doctor charged with running illegal pain clinic in Citrus County 02/07/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pitching on no rest backfires for Erasmo Ramirez, Rays

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — After battling through a 61/2-hour affair Sunday in Minnesota that was the second-longest game in franchise history, Rays officials were quick to decide that even though Erasmo Ramirez had just worked the 15th and final inning, they would stick with him to start Monday's game in Texas.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers, comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)