South Bay doctor faces two dozen felony charges

May 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A South Bay doctor has been accused of prescribing a large amount of prescription drugs. Some of those pills were going to addicts and prosecutors say she knew it.

Police say the doctor was illegally handing out one of the most powerful prescription pain killer on the market.

Prosecutors say Dr. Jasna Mrdjen has been the subject of an undercover operation for more than a year and when they had enough evidence to make an arrest, that's when they made their move.

Mrdjen is a pain management specialist. According to her website, she "uses a range of approaches to prevent, evaluate and treat pain disorders." But it's what prosecutors say she was doing on the side that made her the subject of an undercover sting. She's now facing more than 23 felony charges.

"There were numerous people that were getting overprescribed pain medications for reasons that were not medically necessary," said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Dana Veazey.

Prosecutors say Mrdjen would over prescribe pain killers to addicts, which they would then resell, abuse or both.

"And those who do that and that excessively prescribe, need to be held accountable," said Veazey.

Authorities say she would meet patients in a Los Gatos office on Capri Drive. It has been abandoned since her arrest. The district attorney accuses her of knowingly prescribing powerful pain relievers, among them: Fentanyl -- a synthetic narcotic approximately 100-times more potent than morphine and OxyContin -- a synthetic narcotic known on the street as "hillbilly heroin".

"On the streets, it's pretty easy to get," said San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Leo Capovilla.

Capovilla knows all too well how prevalent these drugs are on the street. He is a drug officer with the San Mateo County Sheriff's office. Monday night, he talked to a group of parents telling them that narcotics have become the drug of choice.

"It's a lot more potent, stronger and it goes along with all those drugs. The inhalants that they're doing... It's just things that weren't around when we were there," said Capovilla.

Prosecutors say Mrdjen's operation was cash only. She would charge $240 for the first visit, $100 every visit after that. Mrdjen remains in jail until she posts bond and could face up to 12 years in prison if she is convicted. She is expected to enter a plea next week.

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