Dr. George C. Daniel, a former National Institutes of Health physician who was a federal fugitive for 3 1/2 years, has been detained in Baltimore pending trial on charges of illegally selling prescriptions.
In U.S. District Court yesterday U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel E. Klein Jr. ordered detention for Daniel after a prosecutor said the doctor had traveled to 31 countries since he failed to make a scheduled court appearance here Feb., 22, 1988.
Prosecutor Harvey E. Eisenberg said authorities seized three passports from Daniel, two of them bearing the name George C. Smith, when he was arrested in Honolulu Sept. 13, along with papers indicating that the fugitive had bank accounts in Hong Kong and New South Wales, Australia.
Daniel had been living in New South Wales with his wife, who also was a fugitive, and their young son, who was born in Zimbabwe in November 1988, the prosecutor said.
Eisenberg also said that before Daniel fled this country, he sold ,, five properties in the Washington area that he had posted as collateral for his $200,000 bail.
Daniel, a native of Dominica in the Caribbean, was an NIH endocrinologist when he was indicted in 1987 on 11 counts of illegally selling Dilaudid, Percodan and Demerol prescriptions to an undercover federal drug agent for $100 each.
An affidavit filed in the case said the Drug Enforcement Administration had been tipped that Daniel had sold prescriptions to "patients" whom he never examined or provided medical treatment.
Judge John R. Hargrove issued a bench warrant for Daniel when the doctor failed to appear in court the day his trial was scheduled to begin. Daniel had fled after telling his defense lawyer, Price O. Gielen, that he did not want to accept a plea bargain that Eisenberg had offered.
Attorney William H. Murphy Jr., who represented Daniel in court yesterday, told Klein that the doctor had been scheduled to plead guilty to one count in the indictment in return for a 60-day prison sentence.
But Eisenberg, who was prosecuting Daniel in 1988, said there was no written plea agreement, "and if there was, it's now rescinded."
Federal authorities who went looking for Daniel in 1988 reported that he disappeared with his then-girlfriend, Debra Cason, a government attorney in Washington. They apparently fled in his Cessna airplane, which was missing from its berth at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Authorities later learned that Cason had taken leave the day of Daniel's trial and eventually had quit her job at the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Eisenberg said yesterday that the couple eventually married.
Daniel was arrested in Honolulu after a dispute with a Honolulu hotel clerk that arose when he allegedly attempted to pay his bill with a credit card that bore a different name from the one he had been using during his hotel stay.
The clerk called police, who arrested Daniel, learned his true identity and notified federal authorities, Eisenberg said.
Debra Cason Daniel, the doctor's wife, surrendered to U.S. marshals Sept. 27 after she arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on a flight from Canada, Eisenberg said.
She was wanted on a March 3, 1988, warrant that charged her with harboring a fugitive. She was released last week on $50,000 bond secured by cash and property posted by her parents in Northern Virginia.
Eisenberg said the government obtained forfeiture papers for the properties George Daniel had posted for bail but could not seize them because the doctor had "sold them to innocent parties."