CRENSHAW DISTRICT (CBSLA.com) — A doctor in his 80s and five other people have been indicted in a widespread prescription-drug ring, authorities said.
Prosecutors say Clyde Arnold, 82, provided illegal prescriptions for narcotics as part of the ring, which includes three other senior citizens.
Arnold pleaded not guilty Friday, claiming that he, in fact, is the victim. He claims that people stole his prescription pads and attempted to sell them on the black market.
Today, Arnold, who has been writing prescriptions for 40 years, is accused in a 47-count grand jury indictment, along with five other suspects, who range in age from 26 to 75.
Prosecutors claim that people would go to Arnold’s clinic in the Crenshaw district for multiple prescriptions of the maximum doses of drugs, including oxycodone. Charges go on to the suggest that these people would then fill the prescriptions at pharmacies then sell the pills on the street.
The indictment also says that Arnold wrote prescriptions for muscle relaxants, including Valium, and anti-anxiety pills, such as Xanax.
Pharmacist Samuel Lee says that while he does not know Arnold, such occurrences are not uncommon.
“Some doctors probably write prescriptions for that if they get paid a certain amount of money,” Lee suggested.
However, Arnold says that all his patients were in legitimate need of the prescriptions he wrote.
When asked if this included every prescription he’s written, he responded: “I didn’t say every prescription; I’ve been practicing for 40 years, dear.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office says that police seized thousands of pills, $10,000 in cash and 50 stolen IDs from the suspects’ homes.
Arnold, due back in court in January, may face up to 22 years in prison if convicted.