Havre de Grace pharmacy, doctor's office raided in drug probe Police confiscate physician's records

October 06, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

Undercover narcotics officers raided a Havre de Grace pharmacy and nearby office and home of a well-known 77-year-old Harford County doctor yesterday, climaxing what investigators called a six-month covert drug distribution investigation.

Police said drug abusers from Pennsylvania, Delaware and Balti

vTC more County were able to pay $20 for a visit to Dr. Edward J. Simon's office and, without being given a physical examination, walk out with prescriptions for tranquilizers such as Valium, or its generic equivalent diazepam, Xanax or LorTab, a narcotic painkiller.

All are classified controlled dangerous substances and require a physician's prescription to be purchased, said police, who obtained a search-and-seizure warrant to conduct the raid.

Neither Dr. Simon, who lives in the 3900 block of Somerset Court, nor the owner of City Pharmacy was charged yesterday, said Sgt. Henry E. Bowker of the Drug Enforcement Division of the state police.

But the state Physicians Quality Assurance Commission asked Dr. Simon, who police said practiced medicine for 51 years, to voluntarily surrender his medical license yesterday. Police said he did not. A hearing will be conducted to determine the future of his practice, police said.

"We have concluded the covert portion of this operation and now we need to go through all the records seized from the doctor's office, his residence and the pharmacy before taking our findings to the [Harford] state's attorney," Sergeant Bowker said.

Dr. Simon refused comment last night and referred all questions to his attorney, who couldn't be reached. The pharmacist also could not be reached last night.

Joseph P. Cassilly, county state's attorney, said his office would study the evidence to determine "who all the players are.

"Once we see what's involved, we'll decide how to proceed," he said.

Complaints by residents prompted law enforcement agencies to begin an investigation, police said.

Investigators learned that the volume of Valium, Xanax, diazepam, and LorTab pills purchased by City Pharmacy greatly exceeded the quantities purchased by four other pharmacies in the area.

"We don't know how many prescriptions or how much money may be involved at this time," Sergeant Bowker said.

Police provided graphs charting City Pharmacy's purchases of the four drugs for six months.

The data showed, for example, that the pharmacy bought 2 1/2 times the amount of 5 milligram-strength Valium pills as that purchased by its nearest competitor -- 1,200 pills. LorTab purchases were five times greater, diazepam seven times greater and Xanax 11 times greater, police said.

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