7 Doctors and Pain Clinic Owners Arrested in Pill Mill Crackdown

money-pile.jpgWESTON, FL (August 16 ) – At a news conference at DEA offices in Weston, FL, on Thursday regarding in the latest crackdown on South Florida pill mills – Phase II of the two-year Operation Pill Nation – it was announced that, seven doctors, three pain clinic owners at the Pompano Beach Medical Corp., and one owner’s relative have been arrested for crimes including racketeering, trafficking in a controlled substance, money laundering among others.
The allegations are that beginning in April 2010 and continuing up until as recent as last month, undercover investigators visited the clinic and were prescribed controlled substances despite the fact that none of the agents were suffering from any infirmity that required medication.
“The DEA does not target doctors; we target drug traffickers,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville said.
Among those arrested were: Dr. Marcia Sills, 59, of Fort Lauderdale; Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, 74, of Tamarac; Dr. Mark Cukierman, 56, of Boca Raton; Dr. Michael Fronstin, 75, of Palm Beach Gardens; Dr. Adeline Essian, 59, in Chicago; and Dr. Khanh Van Kim Duong, 33, in New York. Dr. Thomas Rodenberg, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, was being sought in Tennessee. Also arrested were clinic owner Steven August Edson, 40, of Coral Springs; Bruno Balbi, 29; Francisco Carlos Balbi, 57; and Aline Balbi Leca, 31, all of Deerfield Beach.
“[If] these folks [are] hiding behind a white jacket and diploma, it doesn’t give them a pass,” Trouville said.
According to Trouville, “[t]hese folks are simply doing this for profit and greed. There’s no intent for good medical practice there.”
Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said, “I still don’t get it. A doctor goes to medical school for 10 years to learn how to save lives and ends up ruining lives and that’s something we just can’t tolerate.”
According to Lamberti, two years ago “there were 78 McDonald’s and there were 130 pill mills. But I’m happy to say today that you have a better chance of buying a Big Mac than you do a bottle of oxycontin.”
To watch a video clip from the news conference, click here.

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