Doc said he was ‘El Chapo of Opioids,’ cops say. Somehow, he got busted
NEWARK – A Bergen County doctor authorities say described himself as "“El Chapo of Opioids" and the “Candy Man” has been accused of giving out opioids without a legitimate medical reason.
The U.S. Attorney's Office also alleges Robert Delagente, 45, of Oakland, falsified medical records to cover his crimes up.
Delagente is charged with one count of distribution of controlled dangerous substances and one count of obstruction of justice. He was scheduled to appear Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court.
Authorities allege the North Jersey Family Medicine doctor prescribed drugs including oxycodone, Percocet, Tylenol with codeine, and various benzodiazepines (alprazolam, diazepam, clonazepam, and temazepam) without any medical reason.
"He ignored the inherent danger and medical risk of overdose, drug abuse, and death that can accompany prescriptions of highly addictive opioids, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxers, both on their own and in combination with one another," the U.S. Attorney's office wrote.
In some cases, Delagente didn't even see his "patients" or discuss their conditions before prescribing them drugs, authorities said. Instead, he'd leave prescriptions at the front desk without requiring any kind of consultation, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Patients were able to dictate the strength and dose of the drugs they wanted, authorities said.
"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 the U.S. Attorney's Office.
He ignored drug-screening tests to tell whether patients were taking illicit drugs, and indeed prescribed drugs to patients he knew were addicted, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
It cited one case, when a patient couldn't get in to see a doctor, Delagente texted to another practice employee: “Oh well … C’est la vie! Lol … He can wait for his oral heroin another day. Lol," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
When a patient texted Delagente that he needed a plan to ween himself off of painkillers, Delagente wrote him a prescription for 120 tablets of 30-milligram oxycodone for 30 days, authorities said.
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," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the distribution of controlled dangerous substances charge. Delagente faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the obstruction charge.
More from New Jersey 101.5: