A New Jersey doctor who called himself “Candy Man” and “El Chapo of Opioids” is accused of distributing opioids without a legitimate medical reason and falsifying medical records to cover it up, according to federal prosecutors.
Robert Delagente, 45, of Oakland, is charged by complaint with one count of distribution of controlled dangerous substances and one count of obstruction of justice, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced Monday.
Delagente was scheduled to appear Monday afternoon in federal court in Newark.
His attorney did not immediately respond to request for comment.
According to court documents, beginning in May 2014, Delagante was a doctor at North Jersey Family Medicine in Oakland who allegedly called himself “Candy Man” and “El Chapo of Opioids” when describing himself in conversations pertaining to prescribing painkillers.
Court documents allege that Delagente knowingly prescribed controlled substances, such as oxycodone, Percocet, Tylenol with codeine, and various benzodiazepines without a legitimate medical purpose, ignoring dangers of the medical risk of overdose, drug abuse, and death that can accompany prescriptions of highly addictive opioids.
In one case, according to court documents, Delagente prescribed controlled substances without ever seeing the alleged patient for a medical visit or even discussing with the patient the medical need for the prescription.
The court documents go on to allege that Delagente allowed patients to ask him for controlled substances via text message and would write a prescription for patients that he would leave at the front desk, without requiring an office visit or consultation of any kind.
Delagente allagedly allowed patients to dictate the strength and dosage of the prescriptions. Additionally, it is alleged that Delagente also prescribed the dangerous drug combination known as the “Holy Trinity,” comprised of opioids (usually oxycodone), benzodiazepines (usually alprazolam) and muscle relaxers (usually carisoprodol).
According to prosecutors, Delagente failed to monitor patients for addiction and ignored drug screening tests to determine whether certain patients were taking illicit drugs.
It is alleged that Delagente prescribed controlled substances to patients he knew were addicted to opioids or other controlled substances.
In one case, according to court documents, one patient allegedly texted Delagente that the patient “probably can’t stop the pk’s,” referring to painkillers and a few days later, when the patient was having trouble obtaining pain medication, the patient allegedly wrote to Delagente that “If I go 4 days without [painkillers] I am in huge trouble.”
In response, Delagente allegedly wrote “I will leave you a short supply RX [prescription] at the front to pick up.” The court documents say that Delagente then allegedly wrote the patient a prescription for 120 tablets of 30-milligram oxycodone for 30 days, prosecutors say, adding that Delagente at one point told this patient: “I’m literally sticking my neck out and can lose my medical license or [be] arrested for what I just did.”
Delagente was also charged with altering medical records of patients who received controlled substance prescriptions from him after law enforcement officials had subpoenaed the records from him in late April 2019.
Delagente faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the distribution of controlled dangerous substances charge and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the obstruction charge.