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Doctor faces charges in Logan pill mill scheme

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Texas doctor faces federal charges he operated a pill mill scheme while he was practicing in Logan County.

Fernando Gonzales-Ramos, 55, of El Paso, was charged Monday with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, according to a federal Information.

An information is a court document that generally indicates a defendant is willing to cooperate with the government.

During an apparent FBI sting in early March, an informant paid Gonzales-Ramos $450 in exchange for a prescription for the painkiller hydrocodone, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

During a raid of the building the doctor was reportedly using, agents found that the doctor did not have basic medical equipment, like a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, or scales. The building did not have running water, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

The investigation also revealed that an armed security guard, a bodyguard carrying brass knuckles, and a nurse-receptionist were working inside the building at the time, the release states.

"As alleged, this doctor's criminal conduct is shocking," Goodwin said. "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. No court date has been set.

Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.

 


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