Nevada cardiologist pleads guilty to drug distribution count
RENO, Nev. (AP) — A northern Nevada cardiologist has pleaded guilty to distributing highly addictive prescription drugs to patients without a legitimate medical purpose.
Dr. Devendra Patel of Elko pleaded guilty in federal court in Reno on Monday to one count of a drug distribution crime after being charged last December in a 39-count federal indictment alleging drug offenses and fraud.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Nevada says the investigation leading to the indictment revealed that Patel contributed to the opioid epidemic by unlawfully prescribing opioids and other prescription narcotics to patients for financial gain.
The office says Patel faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million when sentenced March 18.