DEA executes search warrant on doctor’s office in Fallon
LVN Editor Emeritus
FALLON — Law enforcement officers from Northern Nevada executed a search warrant at a local doctor’s office Thursday morning because of an ongoing investigation looking into overprescribed controlled substances.
The Drug Enforcement Agency — along with the FBI, officers from Reno and Washoe and Churchill counties, Nevada Department of Investigations, Health and Human Services and several medical boards — entered the offices of Dr. Gary Ridenour at 2152 Reno Highway, Suite 1, shortly after its 7 a.m. opening. Ridenour’s website said he’s been a family medical doctor for more than 20 years.
Marc Kuzmicki, resident in charge of the Reno DEA office, said patients were milling about in the office still trying to get prescriptions. He said officers casually entered the building but still took precautions not knowing if there were weapons in the office. He said the patients were cooperative. Kuzmicki also said the DEA knew Ridenour wouldn’t be at his office.
According to Kuzmicki, agents are executing search warrants in several states and gathering evidence of overprescribed medication. In addition to Ridenour’s office, Kuzmicki said officers would be visiting several residences.
“It’s been an ongoing case for a year,” he said of Thursday’s search. “Overall, we’re focusing on practitioners whether they’re doctors, nurse practitioners, veterinarians or anyone who has access to controlled substances that can be prescribed (and) that we suspect are grossly overprescribed.”
In addition to Fallon, Kuzmicki said several search warrants were also executed Thursday in Las Vegas.
Kuzmicki said he couldn’t comment on any charges. He said those will come from the U.S. Attorney in Reno who will release the information after he reviews it. Kuzmicki, though, said it’s not unusual for the DEA and other agencies to execute a search warrant on a doctor’s office in a small town.
“A lot of times you’ll have patients coming from various areas outside of whatever area,” he said, referring to previous cases. “People will come from hours away when other doctors were closer to them. They know a certain doctor would be able to prescribe them medication.”
This search follows Walmart’s decision on May 25, 2018, not to honor prescriptions written by Ridenour. In a letter sent to Ridenour, Walmart said, “In our efforts to meet our compliance obligations … and to help combat prescription drug abuse and diversion, we routinely review the prescribing patterns and practices of the prescribers whose prescriptions are presented to us for filling … we will not be able to continue filling your controlled substance prescriptions.”
The Walmart letter cited controlled substances II-V, which includes hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone (Dolophine), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), and fentanyl (Sublimaze, Duragesic, morphine, opium, codeine, alprazolam (Xanax), carisoprodol (Soma), clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed), temazepam (Restoril) and triazolam (Halcion).