HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)—An abuse of power. A military doctor from Howard County is charged with illegally selling prescription drugs.
Kelly McPherson is following the federal case and has more on the allegations.
An army doctor at Walter Reed Medical Center is accused of peddling the painkiller oxycodone over several months in Columbia and Baltimore.
“Dr. Robalino was really just acting like a routine street-level drug dealer,” said Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for Maryland. “He was using his medical authority to get these illegal prescriptions and then was allegedly selling the prescriptions essentially on the street.”
Dr. Joffre Robalino faces federal charges for running a simple–but illegal–scheme.
Prosecutors say he would write prescriptions for oxycodone in his wife and mother’s names, sometimes even in names of the drug users without their knowledge. Then he would sell the pills for $10-12 each.
The military insurance plan–Tricare–tracked down 16 prescriptions at 11 different pharmacies it paid for on behalf of Dr. Robalino’s fake patients, costing more than $6,000.
Prosecutors say the investigation started with a Baltimore pharmacist who alerted the Drug Enforcement Association about Robalino’s suspicious prescriptions for too many pills too often.
They tracked the doctor picking up hundreds of tablets at a time and taking them to locations like the Renaissance Hotel near the Inner Harbor, his home in Columbia or handing them off to buyers in his car.
“Cases like this one are absorbing an exorbitant amount of time by the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in an effort to combat the diversion of oxycodone and similar narcotic drugs,” Rosenstein said.
If convicted, Robalino faces up to 20 years in prison.