‘Candy Man’: New Jersey physician Robert Delagente, 45, who called himself the ‘El Chapo of Opioids’ and ‘Candy Man’, has admitted to prescribing addictive painkillers to patients who did not need them
A New Jersey doctor who called himself the “El Chapo of Opioids” and “Candy Man” admitted that he prescribed addictive pain killers to patients who did not need them and that he falsified medical records to cover his tracks.
Robert Delagente, 45, from Oakland, New Jersey, pleaded with the Newark Federal Court on Monday guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute regulated hazardous substances; three counts of distribution of regulated hazardous substances and one count of falsifying medical records.
The US attorney Craig Carpenito’s office claimed that Delagente used his practice, North Jersey Family Medicine in Oakland, to prescribe illegal opioids, including oxycodone, Percocet, and various benzodiazepines, which often allowed his patients to choose their own dosage.
“This defendant has consciously prescribed some of the most dangerous and addictive drugs available to his patients, sometimes with no more contact than a text message from the patient,” Carpenito said. “Many of these patients had pain and addiction, and instead of getting help from their doctor, they were drawn deeper into the drug abuse cycle.”
According to a criminal complaint, a patient received nearly 500 doses of Percocet, Oxycontin and other powerful opioids over a seven-week period without visiting the Delagente office.
‘Pilmolen’: prosecutors say that Delagente used his practice, North Jersey Family Medicine in Oakland (photo), to prescribe opioids illegally, which often allowed his patients to choose their own dosage
A week after receiving a 10-day supply of Percocet and a 30-day supply of clonazepam, the patient texted that the medicine no longer worked as before. Delagente has subsequently prescribed an additional 30-day supply of Oxycontin and a 25-day supply of Percocet, claims the complaint.
Another time he texted a patient that he was sending the patient’s prescription on a different day than a similar prescription to the patient’s mother “to avoid suspicion.”
The complaint also claimed that Delagente did not monitor whether his patients became addicted to the pain killers and prescribed the medication to people he knew were already addicted.
In one case, a staff member from his practice texted Delagente that a patient had received a babysitter and had driven a long distance to go to the medical office, but could not see a doctor. Delagente answered: ‘Oh well … C’est la vie! Lol … He can wait another day for his oral heroin. LOL.’
According to a criminal complaint, one of the patients from Delagente received almost 500 doses of Percocet and other opioids for a period of seven weeks without visiting the doctor
“Dr. Delagent sold his ethics, his medical license, and his moral compass, “said FBI-Newark special agent Gregory Ehrie.
According to the complaint, Delagente, who compared conversations with the notorious Mexican drug dealer Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, prescribed regulated substances without ever seeing the patient for a medical visit or even discussing the medical need for the prescription with the patient. He allowed patients to request regulated substances via SMS and wrote a prescription for patients that he would leave at the reception without an office visit or consultation of any kind.
He also prescribed the dangerous combination of medicines, the ‘Holy Trinity’, consisting of opioids, benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants.
A patient texted Delagente that the patient “probably cannot stop the horsepower,” referring to painkillers. The patient told Delagente that the patient “needed a plan to stop … not cold turkey.”
A few days later, when the patient had problems getting painkillers, the patient wrote to Delagente that “If I had 4 days without [painkillers] I’m in big trouble. “In response, Delagente wrote:” I’ll leave you a short supply of RX [prescription] in front to pick up. ”
Delagent then wrote the patient a prescription for 120 tablets of 30 milligrams of oxycodone for 30 days. At a given moment, Delagente told this patient: ‘I literally stick out my neck and can lose my medical permit or [be] arrested for what I just did. “
Delagent was also charged with changing the medical records of patients who received painkillers from him after law enforcement officials summoned the documents in April 2019.
When sentenced on June 10, Delagente is confronted with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 1 million for each distribution of regulated hazardous substances, and up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 on the number of registered counterfeits.