CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Texas doctor accused of running a pill mill in Logan County could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a hefty fine.
Fernando Gonzales-Ramos, 47, of El Paso has been charged with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose outside of the usual course of professional practice, said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
The charge was filed last week in an information, a legal filing that typically shows a person has agreed to plead guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors, according to a statement issued by Goodwin's office.
According to the document, Gonzales-Ramos dispensed prescription drugs for illegitimate medical purposes from December 2012 until March 3, 2013, when he was arrested at the Logan building where he was running a makeshift doctor's office.
The building, located on Old Logan Road, had no medical equipment or examining tables. It did not even have running water, according to previously filed court documents.
FBI agents, assisted by state and local law enforcement, went to the Logan building Sunday, March 3, and saw people lined up outside the building. A search of the building showed employees inside included an armed security guard, a bodyguard carrying brass knuckles and a nurse/receptionist.
Gonzales-Ramos, who is licensed to practice in West Virginia and Puerto Rico, was arrested at the building. He had traveled to Logan for a few days every few months to be at the clinic but lived full time in El Paso, where he works at the VA Hospital.
"As alleged, this doctor's criminal conduct is shocking," Goodwin said in the release. "He ran a phony medical practice that was really nothing more than a drug den. It's appalling that a licensed physician would pump illegal pills into our communities like this."
In addition to prison time, he also faces a $1 million fine as a result of the charge. No court date has been set.
The doctor remains in South Central Regional Jail with no bond set.