Three medical employees arrested in prescription drug cases

ST. PETERSBURG — A physician assistant, a pediatric dental office worker and an X-ray technician have been arrested in separate cases after fraudulently obtaining or delivering prescription drugs, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

In all three cases, deputies said, the suspects worked at local medical facilities but were not authorized to fill prescriptions. They acted alone and their employers were not aware of what was going on, deputies said.

The first arrest occurred late Thursday. Deputies said Vanessa Yoder Jewell, 55, of 9598 59th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, was arrested on charges of delivering a controlled substance. Jewell was released from the Pinellas County Jail on $10,000 bond.

On Aug. 2, detectives received a tip that Jewell, who also uses the name Vanessa Jacob and works as a physician assistant at a local hospital, brought several oxycodone pills to two adults outside the hospital, deputies said. Jewell was not authorized to provide narcotics to patients, deputies said. Deputies were investigating how Jewell obtained the drugs, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

The other arrests occurred Friday afternoon, deputies said.

Dana Burns, 34, of 3243 56th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, was arrested on one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Deputies said that on July 25, Burns, who works as an assistant at a pediatric dental office, tried to pass a fake prescription at a local pharmacy. Detectives learned Burns, also known as Dana Sutton, had done so several times since June.

Burns was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Friday in lieu of $2,000 bail.

The X-ray technician, Robert Cales, 40, of 4812 Parson Brown Lane in Palm Harbor, was arrested on two counts of obtaining hydrocodone by fraud.

Detectives investigated a tip that Cales tried to fill a fraudulent prescription for hydrocodone at a local pharmacy. They later learned that he had a prescription for the drug filled at the same pharmacy in June. Cales was released from jail after he posted $4,000 bail.

Three medical employees arrested in prescription drug cases 08/12/11 [Last modified: Sunday, August 14, 2011 12:01am]

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