Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced the arrests of two Baltimore-area physicians Thursday for allegedly operating “pill mills.”
The physicians allegedly introduced a quarter-million doses of unlawfully prescribed controlled substances to Maryland streets, investigators said.
Dr. Hasan H. Babaturk, 60, Dr. Kofi Shaw-Taylor, 67 and nine co-conspirators – therapists, office workers and nurses – were indicted on charges of unlawful distribution of opioids and sedatives, which was connected to two overdose-related deaths. A man involved in the illegal trade was dealing out of Mercedes. The pill mill attracted customers from Youngstown, Ohio, Eastern Shore, Leesburg, Virginia, Western Maryland and unruly crowds.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Americans consume 98 percent of opioids Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, even though they only account for 5 percent of the world population.
The attorney general’s office partners with local police and DEA agents to build the cases against the physicians.
Shaw-Taylor, an urologist, was charged with Medicare fraud and conspiracy and 289 counts of drug offenses. Babaturk faces 21 drug charges, according to the indictment.
The indictments are part of a collaborated effort of local police, attorney general’s office and DEA agents to curb the rising overdose deaths in Maryland. Over the last decade, opioid-related deaths have nearly tripled, state officials said. In 2007, Maryland recorded 630 overdose deaths, increasing to 1,850 in 2016.
Karl Colder, DEA Special Agent, said, “The preliminary numbers for 2017 are just as bad.
Shaw-Taylor worked at a Falls Road clinic, where two men were prescribed Oxycodone later overdosed and died, according to the indictment.
Babaturk allegedly help Tuperware parties, where he sold prescriptions for controlled substances. He also sold Xanax, Fentanyl and Oxycodone out of vehicle.