4-2-13 Doctor charged in connection with Logan County pill millLatest Headlines Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 Would you like to receive e-mail alerts when we have breaking news? Click here!
CHARLESTON, W.Va. –United States Attorney Booth Goodwin has charged a Texas doctor who formerly practiced in Logan County, W.Va., in connection with an alleged Logan County pill mill. Dr. Fernando Gonzales-Ramos, 47, of El Paso, Texas, was charged with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice. Gonzales-Ramos was charged last week in a legal filing known as an information, which typically signals that a defendant has agreed to plead guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors.
According to the information filed today, from December 2012 through March 3, 2013, Gonzales-Ramos knowingly dispensed controlled substances for illegitimate medical purposes.
Gonzales-Ramos was a practicing physician in and around Logan County, W.Va. until moving to El Paso, Texas.
According to a publicly available criminal complaint made by the FBI, on March 2, 2013, an individual cooperating with law enforcement entered a building located in Logan, W.Va., that the defendant used at the time to distribute narcotics and paid $450 cash in exchange for a prescription for the painkiller hydrocodone. Early the next day, law enforcement agents observed several people waiting outside the same building. Law enforcement agents executed a search warrant on the building. During the execution of the warrant, agents discovered a number of individuals waiting inside to get written prescriptions. Law enforcement agents also discovered that the building did not have an examination table or basic medical equipment such as a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, or scales. The search conducted by law enforcement further revealed no running water in the building.
The investigation also revealed that employees working in the building at the time were an armed security guard, a bodyguard carrying brass knuckles, and a nurse/receptionist.
“As alleged, this doctor’s criminal conduct is shocking,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “He ran a phony medical practice that was really nothing more than a drug den. It’s appalling that a licensed physician would pump illegal pills into our communities like this.”
Gonzales-Ramos faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine as a result of the charge filed by Goodwin. No court date has been set.
The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. 119 Drug Task Force, the West Virginia State Police, and the Logan County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Steven Loew is in charge of the prosecution.