Calif. Doctor Accused of Selling Synthetic Heroin at Starbucks

Thursday, 27 Oct 2011 04:21 PM

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A Southern California doctor who authorities said brazenly sold prescriptions for pills as potent as heroin out of Starbucks coffeehouses has been arrested after being indicted on federal drug charges.

Dr. Alvin Ming-Czech Yee, 43, of Mission Viejo routinely wrote prescriptions for oxycodone, sometimes referred to as synthetic heroin, to his patients, a third of whom were 25 or younger, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Yee, who was arrested Tuesday and pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday, sold the prescriptions for cash after cursory examinations that he often conducted in coffeehouses and other unusual locales, court documents state. He once took out his prescription pad in a Las Vegas casino to generate more cash for gambling, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana.

On another occasion, he met a patient in the showroom of an Irvine, Calif., Toyota dealer where Yee was buying a new car, according to the affidavit written by Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Mark Nomady. After a few minutes of talking and laughing with Yee, the patient left with a prescription.

At least one of Yee's patients, a 21-year-old woman from Huntington Beach, died of a drug overdose in August after he prescribed drugs for her, according to the Orange County Coroner's Office. Several other overdose deaths in which Yee may have played a role are being investigated, the affidavit states.

Yee’s bond was set at $500,000, according to the Times.

Yee's attorney, Shepard Kopp, declined comment

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