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Judge throws out charges against staff in 2014 DEA raid

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) Criminal charges have been dropped against six Indiana pain clinic staff members arrested last summer in a series of Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) raids.

The employees were accused of assisting four doctors at the Drug Opiate Recovery Network (DORN) in illegally prescribing Suboxone which DEA agents called a form of synthetic heroin, to thousands of patients at their clinics over the last three years.

Agents from the DEA, along with the Hamilton County-Boone County Drug Task Force, and officers from several local departments raided the five DORN clinics simultaneously in July. The raids followed a nine month investigation by the agencies into the clinics run DORN and Living Life Clean (LLC).

Agents seized documents, computers and other evidence at clinics in Carmel, Noblesville, Muncie, Kokomo and Centerville. They also arrested four doctors accused of running the clinics:

• Dr. Larry J. Ley, Noblesville

• Dr. George Agapios, Fishers

• Dr. Ronald Vierk, Richmond

• Dr. Luella Bangura, Lafayette

Prosecutors allege that Dr. Ley alone wrote more than 28,000 prescriptions for Suboxone from 2011 to 2013, pocketing around $240,000 in fees in the process. Ley also treated approximately 3,675 patients during that time, court documents allege. Federal law limits physicians to the treatment of no more than 100 patients at a time.

Seven staff members at the clinics were also arrested during the raids, according to court records:

• Derek Tislow, Avon

• Andrew Dollard, Carmel (attorney)

• Cassy Linn Bratcher, Carmel

• Yvonne Morgan, Eaton, OH

• Jessica Callahan, Muncie

• Eric Ley, Noblesville

• Felicia Reid, Carmel

At a hearing on February 25, Hamilton County Judge Steven Nation dismissed the charges against Tislow, Dollard, Bratcher, Morgan, Callahan and Eric Ley, finding that “the present phrasing of the charging information makes it impossible to understand which acts the Defendant(s) are alleged to be criminal, and therefore restricts the ability of the Defendant to prepare a defense,” according to court documents obtained by I-Team 8.

Motions to dismiss charges against doctors Larry Ley, Agapios and Vierk were denied by Judge Nation at the February hearing. Bangura and Reid are charged in Howard County, and their cases were not reviewed by Judge Nation.

Attorneys for the three doctors indicated in court that they intend to appeal the Judge’s decision, said Hamilton County Chief Prosecuting Attorney Andre Miksha. They have until March 13 to file that request.

Meanwhile, Judge Nation gave prosecutors until March 18 to file their own appeal or to file amended charges. Miksha declined to comment Friday on which step prosecutors plan to take, but said he intends to file the decision prior to the 30 day deadline.

A hearing on the confidentiality of patient records involved in the case is set for March 26 in Hamilton County court.