Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Doctor Arrested in Pain-Pill Sting

On both Florida coasts, the toll of oxycodone continues, as a doctor is arrested and clinic owners are convicted.

The Boca Raton Police arrested Dr. Harry Kesten, 47, owner of Quick Test Labs in Delray Beach, after he tried to buy $300 worth of oxycodone pills, theSouth Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Police used an undercover informant to tape a phone conversation, then set up the fake buy.

In the recorded call, according to the arrest report, Kesten said he could falsify drug test results and make fake labels for prescription bottles.

Meanwhile in Tampa, in a case that took years to bring to trial, a jury convicted the operators of First Medical Group pain clinic of trafficking in oxycodone as well as conspiracy, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Those who were convicted after five days of jury deliberation were clinic owners Jorge Gonzalez-Betancourt, 53, and Michele Gonzalez, 37, both of Tampa, and manager was Maureen Altman, 58, of Lakeland.

The clinic's physician, Dr. Kimberly Daffern, died in 2011 before the case went to trial. As the Times reports, he was accused of prescribing 1 million oxycodone pills in three months.

Even though the clinic attracted hordes of customers from as far as Ohio and Kentucky, it took years of investigation for years before prosecutors felt there was enough evidence to go to trial.

It is notoriously difficult to prosecute drug cases involving prescription drugs. Last month,the three-month-long trial of a Palm Beach County physician and pharmacist ended in acquittal. Dr. Timothy Sigman and pharmacist Peter Del Toro had been charged with dealing in human growth hormone, testosterone and anabolic steroids.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.