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Dallas, Texas News

Dallas Doctor Sentenced to Seven Years for Illegally Prescribing Controlled Substances

A Dallas, Texas doctor, Dr. Leovares Mendez, 59, has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for prescribing hydrocodone and other controlled substances without legitimate medical purposes. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Leigha Simonton, announced the sentencing.

Dr. Mendez, along with his coconspirators Dr. Cesar Pena-Rodriguez, 56, and recruiter Jorge Hernandez, 35, was indicted in February 2020. While Dr. Pena-Rodriguez and Mr. Hernandez pleaded guilty, Dr. Mendez chose to stand trial by jury. He was convicted in February 2024 on one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and six counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances. Chief U.S. District Judge David Godbey sentenced him on Monday.

“This defendant wasn’t practicing medicine – he was dealing drugs, plain and simple,” stated U.S. Attorney Simonton. She emphasized that while most doctors prescribe opioids to alleviate suffering, those who misuse their DEA registrations will face severe consequences from the Justice Department.

DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez echoed this sentiment, stating that the DEA will continue to investigate and prosecute medical professionals who break the law. He highlighted that Dr. Mendez not only ignored his professional duties but also attempted to conceal his criminal activities.

Evidence presented at the trial revealed that Dr. Mendez and Dr. Pena-Rodriguez, owners of Cumbre Medical Center, prescribed hydrocodone, alprazolam, and tramadol to individuals brought by recruiter Jorge Hernandez. These prescriptions were given without medical exams and in exchange for cash payments of $200 to $250.

Undercover officers, posing as patients, provided video and audio recordings showing they received prescriptions by merely requesting specific medications without reporting any pain. These transactions continued over nearly two years, during which Dr. Mendez coached the undercover officers on avoiding law enforcement detection.

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Donna Max, Rachael Jones, Marty Basu, and Renee Hunter, with assistance from appellate liaisons Gail Hayworth and Amy Mitchell.

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