Doctor sentenced to 25 years for pill distribution

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla.,None —

Prosecutors said one Osceola County family physician was the doctor who gave thousands of pills to drug dealers. Friday, he emotionally begged a judge to be lenient.

WFTV covered the arrest of Menendez in October 2010. Drug agents said he gave prescriptions for oxycodone to drug dealers in Sarasota. When investigators arrested those suspects, they found guns, hundreds of empty pill bottles and 2,000 pills.

WFTV's Melonie Holt was in court for Friday's sentencing. The judge told Menendez that he violated his oath when he used his medical license and prescription pad as a money maker.

Menendez will never practice medicine again. And today, he was sentenced on one count of conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone, but not before asking a judge for mercy.

"I lost my career, I lost my respect, I'm about to lose my family for a long period of time," Menendez said.

Menendez, who worked at Physicians Care Partners in Kissimmee, was identified as an oxy supplier when he was linked to a pair of Sarasota drug dealers in 2010.

Investigators said when they searched the homes of Tyrone Anderson and William Frank Sellers, they uncovered 8 pounds of marijuana, cash, oxycodone and 56 prescriptions for 18 patients. Most of those prescriptions were written by Menendez, who charged $200 per patient.

"They were being filled either in Manatee or Sarasota county. And eventually they were being sold in the streets," an undercover investigator said.

From the time of his arrest, Menendez cooperated with investigators and the statewide prosecutor's office.

"I request mercy," Menendez said.

Menendez' wife of 17 years and his father requested mercy, too.

"There couldn't be a much greater violation of his oath as a physician that the court could imagine," Osceola County Circuit Coury Judge Jon Morgan said.

With that, Menendez was sentenced to 25 years with credit for two days served. He must also pay a $500,000 fine.

Just last week, Judge Morgan sentenced Frank Sellers to 25 years in prison. Anderson is still awaiting sentencing.