In July of this year, Florida police arrested Dr. Ataur Rahman and four others after a year-and-a-half long investigation into a suspected narcotics smuggling ring. Authorities allege that Rahman and his co-conspirators, all of whom were Rahman's patients or employees, were distributing prescription drugs such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Methadone and Alprazolam illegally throughout Florida and outside the state.
Authorities began investigating Rahman's medical practice in September 2010. They searched his home and medical practice, as well as obtained his financial records from banks where he held accounts. The investigation also included surveillance work, undercover operations and collecting information from pharmacies and concerned citizens. The investigation was a collaborative effort among Florida police, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Florida Attorney General's Office, the Florida Department of Health and the 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office.
The Florida Department of Health had suspended Rahman's license to practice medicine and filed a complaint against him in October 2011, after Rahman prescribed what the Department believed to be excessive amounts of pain pills to an undercover police officer.
Rahman May Face Harsh Penalties if Convicted
Rahman faces charges of trafficking in illegal drugs, racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and money laundering. Florida sentencing guidelines for drug trafficking call for a minimum of three years in prison and a maximum of a life sentence. Additionally, the penalties for money laundering include a fine the greater amount of either $500,000 or double the amount of money a defendant is convicted of laundering, as well as a prison term of up to 20 years.
The investigation and arrests demonstrate how Florida officials have been focusing on trying to eliminate what Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi called "pill mills" in the state. Florida authorities are dedicating significant time and resources to prosecuting those they believe to be distributing prescription drugs illegally. It is important for a person facing drug charges to consult with an experienced attorney to protect his or her rights and ensure that police did not improperly pursue someone who legitimately needs medication.