Dayton ‘pill mill’ included in 5-state drug bust that targeted medical pros

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 @ 11:40 AM
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 @ 11:49 AM

The ?€œtakedown?€ is the ?€œlargest prescription opioid law enforcement action ever,?€ said Benjamin C. Glassman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

Five defendants involved with a Dayton medical clinic and pharmacy have been indicted as part of the largest prescription opioid takedown in U.S. history, according to federal officials. 

Morris Brown, Ismail Abuhanieh, Mahmoud Elmiari, Mahmoud Rifai and Yohannes Tinsae are all named in a federal indictment filed in the Southern District of Ohio U.S. District Court.

Abuhanieh, Rifai and Tinsae are all listed as previously licensed pharmacists and Brown is listed as having a medical license. 

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The indictment alleges Brown owned and operated Dayton Primary and Urgent Care Center Inc. at 301 W. First St. in Dayton. The other four defendants were involved in the operation of Dayton Pharmacy located at the same address. 

Brown is alleged to have performed only cursory medical visits before dispensing large amounts of controlled substances, including to individuals he had reason to know were selling the medication on the street or drug seeking to feed their addiction. 

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“Despite some aspects of legitimate medical practice, Morris Brown ran what was, in essence, a ‘pill mill,’” the indictment says. “Morris Brown’s primary method of treating nearly all of his patients was to prescribe highly addictive opioid controlled substances.”

The indictment alleges that Brown continued these practices after learning that some of his patients had overdosed and died. 

Those drugs included oxycodone, methadone, morphine, fentanyl, alprazolam, endocet and more. 

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In total, 60 defendants, including 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners and seven other licensed medical professionals have been charged with drug crimes, said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski today.

The “takedown” is the “largest prescription opioid law enforcement action ever,” said Benjamin C. Glassman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, at a news conference Tuesday in Cincinnati announcing the charges.

A pill mill is an office that prescribes opioids with no legitimate health care purpose.

  

U.S. attorneys from five states including Ohio along with federal law enforcement and health officials announced the results of an Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force enforcement actions across 11 federal districts.

Benczkowski said the charges represent more than 350,000 prescriptions and more than 32 million pills distributed out by health care facilities.

The clinic on West First Street was raided by federal agents in November of 2017. 

In May of that year he was warned of possible discipline by the State of Ohio Medical Board.

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A letter sent to him stated the board had prescription concerns involving 16 patients, that he may have “failed to employ acceptable scientific methods in the selection of drugs.”

Following the Medical Board’s investigation, Brown permanently surrendered his medical license in February of 2018.