January 10, 2012 | 9:20am
Cesar Deleon, who headed up Trinity Medical Center in Lake Worth, will be spending the next seven years in federal prison on a slew of charges related to doling out pain pills.
Deleon, 65, had no qualms about trading oxycodone and other drugs for sexual favors or straight cash, according to his indictment. Business was going well until Deleon started selling bulk quantities of the drug to undercover officers. Between Feb. 26, 2010, and July 28, 2010, law enforcement officials were able to purchase more than 2,000 pain pills from the clinic.
Deleon's bust was part of the aptly named "Operation Pill Nation
," a far-reaching sting that netted 22 South Florida doctors. It consisted of more than 340 undercover buys from more than 60 doctors at dozens of shady clinics throughout the region.
Not only did the DEA seize $2.2 million through the program, it also got its mitts on a few "exotic cars
," always a nice detail to flash in front of a jury.
Operation Pill Nation was so successful that the DEA announced in October a similar program - this one dubbed Operation Pill Nation II. DEA agents aren't known for their creative marketing skills, but tacking on some Roman numerals seems lazy even by federal standards.
But part deux was a success in itself, nabbing an additional 22 individuals, including doctors and pharmacists, alleged to be involved with the trade.
All said, the two operations helped close down 40 pain clinics in South Florida and resulted in the seizure of nearly $20 million in assets.
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