By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
The last pain clinic in Scioto County is closed down and if Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has his way the building will remain closed for at least a year. Local and state authorities were on hand Tuesday morning to enter the Greater Medical Advance on Ohio River Road in Wheelersburg.
Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini was awaiting the arrival of a locksmith to gain access to the building, which was not occupied at the time of the raid.
“We are executing three separate search warrants at three separate locations,” Donini said. “We’re also trying to apprehend four different subjects who were involved in what we call drug trafficking here at Greater Medical Advance. The Attorney General’s office had a special prosecutor who had a special grand jury who, along with Mark Kuhn’s office, issued indictments on four different individuals.”
As authorities were attempting to serve indictments on four people, including the owner and the physician who operated the clinic, DeWine stood on the steps and talked about the importance of the operation Tuesday morning.
“The Scioto County grand jury yesterday (Monday) handed down indictments for four individuals,” DeWine said. “We are closing now, as we speak, the last pill mill in Scioto County.”
DeWine said the closing of the facility does not mean there are not still problems with illegal distribution of prescription drugs in Scioto County.
“We’ve come a long long way,” DeWine said. “This has been a joint effort of the (Ohio) Pharmacy Board, which took the lead in this investigation, and did a great job. They worked directly with BCI&I (Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation) under my jurisdiction, and our special prosecutors are handling the case, along with the Scioto County Prosecuting Attorney. So it has been a great joint effort and progress is being made.”
Taken into custody at his apartment in Centerville was Dr. Victor Andrei Georgescu. He is charged with conspiracy to engage in corrupt activity, funding drug trafficking, permitting drug abuse, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Late into the morning, authorities were looking for the owner of the clinic, George Marshall Adkins, of 53 Brouse St., West Portsmouth, who is also being indicted on four separate counts.
Indictments were also handed down for Tammy Newman, the former owner and current employee, who will face charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy to engage in corrupt activity and funding drug trafficking. And Melissa Veach, an employee who was charged with aggravated drug possession. She was taken into custody late Tuesday morning.
Special Prosecutor Aaron Haslem was also at the raid Tuesday morning.
“The four of them have been indicted, and they are part of the court system,” Haslem said. “We’ll have pretrials if they elect to have trials they will be done in the Scioto County Common Pleas Court.”
DeWine said he has been looking forward to boarding up that facility and has requested that it be taken a step further.
“We are seeking also today to have this facility declared a public nuisance, and to ask the judge to prohibit the use of this building for a year,” DeWine said.
DeWine had last year criticized some government agencies for not being aggressive enough in dealing with prescription pain medication operations in the state. He says now he has seen those issues changed.
“I think we have made major progress,” DeWine said. “Over 10 doctors have lost their licenses, so the State Medical Board, the Pharmacy Board has really helped us in this investigation. It has been a real cooperative effort. It has been the priority of the governor’s. It’s certainly been a priority of mine. And I think it is appropriate that as this year is ending we have the last pill mill in Scioto County.”
“This is something we have been working on for a long time,” Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said. “The Pharmacy Board issued a search warrant for this property and it has been an ongoing process since then.”
A year ago, Scioto County was home to nine pain clinics.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.