A Dallas area physician faces 20 years in federal prison for overseeing the illegal prescription of nearly a million units of narcotics. Dr. Carlos Luis Venegas was convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance at his alleged “pill mill” in federal court on Friday.
“These pill mills help to perpetuate the tragic opioid crisis gripping our country,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox via release. “Last year, America lost, on average, 116 people per day to opioid overdoses. We cannot allow unscrupulous conduct by physicians to add to the supply of dangerous drugs on the streets.”
Trial evidence shower that Venegas supervised fraudulent medical clinics that were fronts designed to illegally distribute hydrocodone and alprazolam. Contributors to the conspiracy coached and paid homeless and indigent people to obtain the pain meds at the clinics by describing fake symptoms. The runners also provided transportation and paid for the clinic visits.
Nurse practitioners under Venegas’ supervision gave the fake patients brief exams without any testing and didn’t document any alleged symptoms. Patients were given cocktail of medications that often included hydrocodone and Xanax at maximum dosages.
Other defendants, including nurse practitioners and clinic managers pleaded guilty to being a part of the scam. The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation, and U.S. Attorneys Myria Boehm, Renee Hunter, and Nicholas Bunch were the federal prosecutors. Sentencing has not been set.