A Modesto doctor is accused of selling opioid prescriptions for cash and faces 20 years in federal penitentiary, the US Attorney Eastern District of California announced.
Dr. Sawtantra Kumar Chopra (71), specialist in lung and sleep medicine, was arrested on Thursday morning. He faces an indictment of 23 counts in the case. Allegedly, he ordered opioid to "several patients out of the usual practice" and without a legitimate medical purpose, said Californian Justice Minister Xavier Becerra at the press conference on Thursday.
Tips lead state and federal officials to investigate Chopra, officials said. Undercover agents bought opioid prescriptions for hydrocodone and cough syrup mixed with codeine, according to US Attorney McGregor W. Scott. The painkillers are highly addictive.
The agents presented themselves as patients whose doctors stopped prescribing the opioid, Scott said. Scott said that one of the agents had received a prescription after presenting an X-ray of a healthy body part.
In March, DEA suspended Chopra's right to issue prescriptions, Scott said.
Chopra's practice is associated with Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.
Chopra was convicted of illegal bribes in 2006 for transferring a patient to an oxygen company for which he was medical director. He was sentenced to three years' probation, according to the Medical Board of California
Chopra, a 20-year federal prisoner, is being held at the Fresno County Detention Center.