New York City — An elderly couple from the Upper West Side kept countless junkies stoned for years by turning the husband’s medical office into a “pill mill” for prescription narcotics.
Dr. Rogelio Lucas, 77, and his office-manager wife, Lydia, 79, allegedly made millions by peddling so many crooked prescriptions that the overflow crowds in their waiting room forced them to relocate three times.
Lucas, who earned his medical degree in the Philippines (UERM) , treated the elderly and MedicAid patients before turning to the far more lucrative racket of drug dealing in 2009.
He allegedly worked with several major drug rings to write more than 23,600 prescriptions for 3 million-plus tablets of the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone worth more than $77 million on the streets.
Between 45 and 50 people who served as “runners” for the drug rings would routinely pick up prescriptions each day, then get them filled at local pharmacies and turn over the pills to the dealers, authorities said.
The wife allegedly served as “the brains behind the operation,” scheduling appointments, maintaining files and collecting $120 in cash for each bogus script, a Manhattan prosecutor said.
They pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and drug charges in Manhattan Criminal Court, where they were ordered held on $500,000 bond each and led off in handcuffs.
Dr. Rogelio Lucas allegedly wrote more than 23,600 prescriptions for oxycodone since 2009, officials say.
Though Rogelio Lucas has been charged for writing only 37 illegal prescriptions, a court-authorized review showed that he wrote oxycodone prescriptions for about 45 to 50 people per day, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Beginning in 2009, though, about 76% of the prescriptions he wrote were for oxycodone, the DEA said, as cash became his preferred method of payment. Between June 2013 and July 2014, for example, Lucas and his wife made about $500,000 in cash deposits in multiple bank accounts.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA New York Division’s Tactical Diversion Squad, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Prescription Drug Investigation Unit, the NYPD, and the HRA. Investigators received help from Westchester County police and Orangetown police, among other agencies, the DEA said.
Scarsdale police in a statement referred questions about the case to the DEA, calling it a federal matter. Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication. Oxycodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain. (The Daily Mail)