July 24, 2014
Contact: Public Information Officer
Phone Number: (954) 660-4500
Operation Pill Nation II Doctor Sentenced To 20 Years In Federal Prison
TAMPA, Fla. - Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement (DEA), Miami Field Division, and United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, for the Middle District of Florida, announce that U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington today sentenced Ronald John (58, Brandon) to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone and alprazolam not for legitimate medical purposes and not in the usual course of professional practice. The Court also ordered Heromin to forfeit his Florida Medical License, his DEA Registration, and $25,437.00. He was also ordered to forfeit monthly disability payments, totaling approximately $15,000.00 per month during his incarceration as a substitute asset for his money judgment. The Court entered a money judgment in the amount of $1,952,563.00, representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of Heromin’s participation in the conspiracy. On April 17, 2014, Heromin was found guilty by a federal jury at the conclusion of a 75 minute deliberation following a three week trial.
According to evidence presented at trial, from late 2009 through October of 2011, Heromin was the prescribing physician at several pain management clinics in the Tampa Bay and Miami areas, including Gulfshore Pain Management on Habana Avenue, the Tampa Bay Medical Center on Himes Avenue, and the Tampa Bay Wellness Centre on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, in Tampa; the Hope for Life Wellness Center in Miami and the St. Mary’s Medical Institute in Hialeah, Florida. During that time, Heromin issued thousands of prescriptions for very large doses of OxyContin, oxycodone and alprazolam to drug addicts and members of doctor shopping organizations, who often traveled hundreds of miles from as far away as Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee to get prescriptions for these highly addictive opiate pain medications. Over 500,000 oxycodone pills and 230,000 alprazolam pills prescribed by Heromin during that time were filled at a single pharmacy, the VIP Pharmacy on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Tampa. Owners and operators of the Tampa Bay Wellness Centre and the VIP Pharmacy have previously been convicted of federal conspiracy and money laundering charges.
This investigation was part of Operation Pill Nation II, which was led by DEA, Tampa District Office, Tactical Diversion Squad, which consists of the Tampa Police Department, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Lakeland Police Department, and the Franklin County Sherriff’s Office in Columbus, Ohio. It was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.