A Tiffin doctor is facing numerous federal charges in connection to alleged pill mills based in Portsmouth and Columbus.
James E. Lassiter, 58, who runs a family practice in Tiffin, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, selling a controlled substance and criminal forfeiture.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges last week, according to federal court documents.
Lassiter was allegedly among six doctors who worked for 47-year-old Tracy Bias. Bias, who has no medical education or training, co-owned two medical clinics in Portsmouth and one in Columbus.
According to court documents, Bias allegedly secured Lassiter and the other doctors for brief periods of time between February 2009 and June 2011 to prescribe a "cocktail" of pain medications for customers at the clinics.
"James Lassiter would continue to write prescriptions for the customers when he learned that area pharmacies refused to fill prescriptions from the pain clinic due to concerns that the amount of medications and the "cocktail" were outside the bounds of legitimate medical purpose," Lassiter's indictment states.
Documents also state the doctors knew or had a reasonable cause to believe the customers were drug addicts and that people without any real medical skills or training were hired to do physical check ups and perform medical examinations.
The "cocktails" included diazepam, hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprazalam and allegedly resulted in numerous overdoses and the deaths of two men, according to Lassiter's indictment.
More than $6 million in profit was made from distribution of the drugs, which were distributed to patients, drug users and conspirators in southern Ohio, northeast Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee, documents state.
If convicted, Lassiter faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, according to court documents.
A jury trial for Lassiter and the other physicians is scheduled to begin in federal court July 23.