Following an 8-day trial, Dr. Leovares A. Mendez, a 58-year-old Texas doctor co-owner of Cumbre Medical Center, LLC in Garland, has been found guilty on charges related to unlawfully prescribing powerful opioids. This was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Leigha Simonton.
The jury convicted Dr. Mendez on Monday on one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and six counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. His sentencing will occur at a later date.
A co-defendant, 56-year-old Cesar Pena-Rodriguez, pleaded guilty on January 17, 2024, just five days before the trial was set to commence, to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Dr. Pena-Rodriguez is awaiting sentencing scheduled for April 22, 2024.
Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Dr. Pena-Rodriguez and Dr. Mendez issued numerous prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose and deviated from the usual professional practice. This included prescribing controlled substances like hydrocodone, alprazolam, and tramadol to undercover agents posing as patients for cash payments of $250.
The defendants facilitated 24 undercover visits during which medically unjustified prescriptions were sold. Evidence showed that Dr. Mendez conducted brief medical evaluations, some as short as one minute, and coached undercover officers on what to say to law enforcement if questioned about the prescriptions.
Dr. Mendez could face up to 140 years in federal prison, with a maximum of 20 years per count. Originally from the Dominican Republic, he awaits his sentencing.
The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).