Updated:DEBARY, Fla.,None —
Four Central Florida residents were charged with prescription drug trafficking and operating a pill mill after investigators busted the Florida Family Health Care clinic on Spring Vista Drive in Debary, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Neighbors said they saw law enforcement officers remove boxes of papers and files from the clinic.
"The hustler, if you would, the guy who picked those indigents up off the street, would be waiting in the car and that guy or lady would keep that bulk of the prescription," said neighbor Jack Lower.
According to investigators, Anthony Joseph Paradyse, 27, of Deltona, owned and managed the center. They said he hired Dr. Jean-Luc Michel, 56, of Boynton Beach, as its physician.
A confidential informant tipped off state agents about the cash-only business. The center was charging patients $700 to $800 for each visit.
Agents said Paradyse was charged with knowingly operating an unlicensed pain clinic, trafficking in oxycodone and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The charges are felonies, investigators said.
Authorities said Michel was arrested for knowingly operating an unlicensed pain clinic, which is a third-degree felony.
FDLE agents said this is one of the most bizarre pain pill busts they've made because Michel was hired through Craigslist to work at the clinic.
Michel responded to an ad to work at the clinic. The two owners did not have a license to practice medicine, so they needed the doctor to write the prescriptions.
"It's kind of disconcerting if your doctor is found on Craigslist," FDLE agent Jack Massey said.
FDLE agents served a search warrant last year, then Michel later resigned. Agents said not only was the facility not licensed, but the doctor is not allowed to practice in Debary.
Massey said Michel only allowed to practice in Boynton Beach, but they have found him working in Vero Beach and Fort Lauderdale too.
The clinic has now been shut down, but Michel still has his license. It is now up to the Department of Health to figure out next steps regarding his license. Michel faces up to 45 years in prison.
Office manager, Jermaine Lydell Johnson, 34, of Deltona, was charged with one count of knowingly operating an unlicensed pain clinic, investigators said.
Medical assistant Alexandra Jane Grech, 23, was charged with trafficking in oxycodone and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, said authorities.
Agents said Paradyse was booked into the Orange County jail, Michel was taken to the Indian River County jail and Grech was booked into the Volusia County jail, but Johnson remains at-large.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Health partnered with FDLE during the investigation, which they say is ongoing.
The Office of the State Attorney, 7th Judicial Circuit said it will prosecute the case.