Clinic doctors and staff arrested in drug bust
By Navar Watson
Local police and federal agents have arrested 11 people in an opiate prescription drug ring this morning, among them four doctors and former Republican candidate for the Hamilton County Council, Andrew Dollard.
Dr. Larry Ley, based at a clinic in Carmel, faces nine counts of Dealing in a Schedule III Controlled Substance, known as Suboxone. This is a Class B felony.
Suboxone is a prescription drug used to treat opiate addictions. “Hundreds of patients” benefited from this drug on a “cash and carry” basis, according to Dennis Wichern, assistant special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Indiana. Investigators suspect this has been going on for more than nine months.
Wichern said there have been “some reported deaths” from overdose of Suboxone.
In the past nine months, the DEA and Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force have been conducting a joint investigation of residences and clinics associated with the Drug and Opiate Recovery Network and Living Life Clean, said Major Aaron Dietz, head of HBCDTF.
Investigators reported that patients suffering from opiate addiction obtained their prescription for the highly addictive drug without receiving any mental or physical evaluations first, nor were they asked to provide any medical history or blood work.
Patients paid $300 cash to receive the initial prescription, Dietz said, and could replenish their supply at any of the five clinics in Indiana for $120 to $160 cash.
“Opiate drugs are a problem in our community,” Dietz said, stating that more people die from prescription drugs than car accidents in the United States.
Doctors like Ley “exaggerate” the problems by using their medical license to dispense Suboxone “with the sole means to make money,” Dietz said. “We make no distinction between Dr. Ley and a drug dealer.”
Investigators, who posed as patients, counted approximately 120 patients within a four-hour period visiting the clinics on a Saturday. According to this count, the clinic would have collected at least $14,400.
That’s how “lucrative” the organization was, Wichern said.
“This type of ruse of a clinic perpetuates the problem because people are still addicted to the drug,” Dietz said. “We hope to get these people to some good clinics [so] that can get the right help. … We’ve got to get them to the right place and to the right treatment.”
Along with Ley and Dollard, Drs. George Agapios, Ronald Vierk and Luella Bangura have been arrested.
Also facing charges are Derek Tislow, 41, of Avon; Cassy Linn Bratcher, 37, of Carmel; Yvonne Morgan, 61, of Eaton, OH; Jessica Callahan, 37, of Muncie; Eric Ley, 38, of Noblesville; and Felicia Reid, 26, of Carmel.
Agents are still conducting interviews and processing several locations, Dietz said. There may be more arrests.
Anyone who might know information regarding Ley or others arrested are urged to call the Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force at 317-571-2545.