Former Dentist Charged Federally with Illegally Distributing Prescription Opiates
License to Practice Suspended Indefinitely by State Dental Commission in April 2021
DEA Stock Photo: Oxycodone
SEATTLE – A former dentist who practiced in Renton until his license was indefinitely suspended by the Washington State Dental Commission, was indicted federally for four counts of distributing a controlled substance, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Luke Edward St. Marie, 34, appeared in federal court today and entered pleas of “not guilty.”
The federal indictment lists four instances between January 2018 and July 2018, when prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone were allegedly issued under his credential outside the scope of professional practice with no legitimate medical purpose. Trial on the charges is scheduled in front of U.S. District Judge Lauren King on November 21, 2022.
When the state suspended St. Marie’s license indefinitely in April 2021, it concluded St. Marie, “wrote prescriptions outside of a provider-patient relationship, didn’t adequately document prescriptions, rewrote an altered prescription, didn’t report that his prescription pad may have been compromised, and didn’t take adequate steps to ensure all prescriptions issued under his authority were valid.” The dental commission referred the matter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for criminal investigation.
In court today, prosecutors noted that the four counts in the indictment comprise just a fraction of the illegal distribution. The investigation revealed that seventy-five prescriptions were improperly written, many in the names of St. Marie’s then-girlfriend, her family, and friends. Sadly, the former girlfriend overdosed at St. Marie’s home, and died days later in the hospital.
Distribution of controlled substances is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
St. Marie was released on personal recognizance bond pending future hearing in the case.
The case was investigated by the DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Jensen.