LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration simultaneously raided multiple doctor’s offices in central Indiana Friday, as well as individual physicians including one doctor in Lafayette. According to the DEA, all were suspected of illegally prescribing synthetic drugs.
The raids follow a nine month investigation and began at 7 a.m. They were run by the Drug Opiate Recovery Network (DORN).
The raided offices were described as “cash and carry” operations where hundreds of patients would arrive and trade cash for prescriptions for Suboxone, a synthetic heroin substitute.
“We had customers that are clients that are from all over the state of Indiana to these clinics and out of state,” Hamilton-Boone Drug Task Force Maj. Aaron Dietz said.
Investigators said the ring leader was Doctor Larry Ley, of Noblesville. He operated DORN in offices in several cities including Kokomo. That’s where Dr. Luella Bangura traveled from Lafayette to practice once a week.
Investigators said on several occasions Bangura wrote more than 120 prescriptions a day for Suboxone, a synthetic heroin substitute. It took about one minute for people to walk in, get their prescription and be out the door.
“We ran seven undercovers in 27 undercover visits into this. There was no physical, no blood pressure, no blood work, no anything sort of like that to get these prescriptions,” DEA Assistant Special Agent-In-Charge Dennis Wichern said.
Investigators said there was an initial cost of $300 for patients, then they would pay $160 a month for future prescriptions. It’s estimated Ley wrote about 8,500 prescriptions in 2013 and made more than $700,000.
“In a four-hour period, we counted approximately 120 people in one Saturday at $120 a piece. I think the math is over $10,000 straight cash,” Wichern said.
Bangura faces four counts of dealing a controlled substance and one count of corrupt business influence. Her Lafayette office was not involved in this investigation.
The following individuals were also arrested:
- Dr. Larry Ley
- Dr. George Agapios
- Dr. Ronald Vierk
- Dr. Luella Bangura
- Hamilton County Attorney Andrew Dollard
DEA agents also responded to the following offices:
- 23 East Main Street, Suite 200, Carmel
- 813 Westfield Boulevard, Suite 100, Noblesville
- 121 North High Street, Muncie
- 3827 South LaFountain, Kokomo
- 801 Airport Road, Centerville
Investigators said prosecutors working on this case were also involved in Kokomo doctor Don Wagoner’s case. Wagoner pleaded guilty to over prescribing drugs earlier this year.