An elderly doctor and his wife were arrested in their Upper West Side home yesterday, as part of a multi-agency investigation into the couple's alleged sale of tens of thousands of oxycodone prescriptions to multiple high-profile drug rings out of their uptown private practice.
Doctor Rogelio Lucas, 77, and his wife Lydia, 79, have been charged with 37 counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance, according to official documents from the city's Special Narcotics Persecutor.
Authorities allege that between 2009 and the spring of this year, Dr. Lucas made a habit of writing oxycodone prescriptions to drug runners with "no legitimate medical need," while his wife, working the front office, collected $120 a pop, in cash. According to the court's review of Dr. Lucas's prescribing history, this happened as often as 45 to 50 times per day. We're talking 23,6000 oxy prescriptions, for 3.1 million pills, since January, 2009.
“Without this doctor’s outrageous scheme, drug dealers could not have gotten hold of dangerous prescription medicine," HRA Commissioner Steven Banks said in a statement.
After yesterday's arrests, investigators searched Dr. Lucas's office at 215 West 101st Street, as well as the couple's second home, in Scarsdale. There, they recovered more than $600,000 dollars in cash, organized in colorfully-clipped bundles. According to the News, the couple also has homes in Hawaii and Florida, and recently started construction on another, in the Philippines.
The Lucases plead not guilty to conspiracy and drug charges. They're currently being held on $500,000 bond, each.
A tenant who lives in the building where the pill peddling allegedly went down, described a fishy scene. “He [Dr. Lucas] had all these handwritten notes all over his door that said ‘Please do not wait outside the door,’” she told the News. “I thought if my doctor had notes like that, I wouldn’t want to see him.”