Tampa pill mill owners sentenced to prison for illegal distribution of opioids

.(Atit Phetmuangtong / EyeEm | Getty Images/EyeEm)
Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 9:28 AM EDT
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TAMPA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Tampa man has been sentenced to federal prison time for his role in the illegal distribution of opioids.

Ernest Gonzalez has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and Rosa Colon (30, Tampa) has been sentenced to 24 months by U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven, for conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances for no legitimate medical purposes and in the usual professional practice.

The Drug Enforcement Administration-Tampa District Office obtained a warrant back in October 2016, while Gonzalez and Colon were both participants of the administration and management of Health and Pain Center (HPC), a pain management clinic.

According to court documents, Gonzalez served as the president and owner of HPC and in June 2011 he transferred his executive title and ownership to Colon. Gonzalez and Colon hired physicians who routinely prescribed controlled substances outside the scope of professional practice and for no legitimate medical purposes to their patients. They instructed HPC employees to overlook failed urine screens and by procuring MRI studies that the physicians used to justify their opioid prescriptions.

Gonzalez and Colon both pleaded guilty on September 11, 2018. And as part of their sentences the court also entered money judgments of $47,780.96 against Gonzalez and $765,356.76 against Colon.

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