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Inside Los Gatos' 'Pill Mill' Operation

Illegal transactions of highly addictive drugs such as Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Xanax, Clonazepam and others were happening at the pain management clinic on Capri Drive.

She will then have a chance to either enter a plea or choose to delay how she'll answer to claims made in a criminal complaint by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office that alleges 12 other felonies, including: one count of conspiracy; nine counts of prescribing a controlled substance to a person without a legitimate medical purpose; and two counts of dispensation or prescription for the benefit of an addict.

The Mountain View resident, who prosecutors say distributed the harmful substances out of a small suite in a commercial building in Los Gatos at 14125 Capri Drive, is expected to appear at 1:30 p.m. in Adult Drug Court at 115 Terrain St. in San Jose.

Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Dana Veazey is accusing her of being responsible for the young man's death after prescribing him large quantities of powerful drugs such as benzodiazepines, Oxycodone and Vicodin without performing an exam.

She's also alleging Mrdjen prescribed controlled substances to addicts or habitual users of drugs not in the course of professional treatment as a medical doctor, but to keep the users "comfortable by maintaining customary use."

Arrested May 11 for allegedly running what prosecutors call "the Los Gatos pill mill," the investigation into Mrdjen's business has now revealed the drug most commonly prescribed was Oxycodone and that some of her patients were involved in illegal diversion and resale of the highly addictive drug.

Mrdjen's attorney Guyton Jinkerson was not immediately available for comment.

She was arraigned on the California Health and Safety Code violations May 14. The involuntary manslaughter charge was added after further investigation revealed the death of the alleged former patient, according to the complaint.

Mrdjen also knowingly prescribed to addicts, despite several cases in which their family members pleaded with her to stop, said Veazey.

The 1977 graduate of the University of Zagreb Faculty of Medicine in Croatia, who was admitted to practice in California that same year, was apprehended after a lengthy, multi-agency investigation assisted by the Santa Clara County Special Enforcement Team (SCCSET). Several of her patients were also arrested for illegally reselling prescriptions obtained from her, according to Veazey.

In a declaration in support of Mrdjen's original $1 million bail—now readjusted to $160,000—a member of SCCSET who was the investigating officer in the case writes that the entire scheme began to crack open on April 16, 2011 when Campbell police officer Wesley Joines arrested a woman at the Campbell Inn, 675 E. Campbell Ave. and found her in possession of eight pieces of aluminum foil with a burnt black residue on them. 

The woman told Joines she used the foil to smoke the Oxycodone pills since she couldn't swallow them. She also had on her person large quantities of Oxycontin, Xanax and Clonazepam. Joines is said to have found prescription medications that came from Mrdjen. The officer also said he found text messages on her phone that led him to believe she was selling her prescription medications. The patient further admitted selling the meds, smoking Oxycodone and being addicted to the medications.

The investigator also writes that on June 14, 2011 he obtained information about another one of Mrdjen's patients, who was allegedly involved in the sale of Oxycodone. He said he performed a so-called CURES check on him, revealing that between May and June of 2011 he had filled prescriptions for 540 Oxycodone and Oxycontin pills from Mrdjen.

In June of 2011, Morgan Hill Police Det. Mario Ramirez sent the patient a text message trying to buy Oxycodone; he allegedly called the officer back negotiating the purchase of the drug. A search warrant for his cell phone provider and residence in Morgan Hill revealed text messages related to the illegal sale of narcotics, according to the case's lead investigator. He was arrested following a search of his home and found at a Morgan Hill hotel where his backpack had several Methadone, Suboxone and Zanax pills and empty Oxycodone prescription bottles, plastic straws and tin foil to smoke the Oxycodone. Several small ziploc baggies used to package controlled substances were also found inside the backpack, according to the investigator.

Then, in four different appointments with Mrdjen, a special undercover agent, pretending to be suffering from back pain, was prescribed 720 30-milligram Oxycodone pills and 150 40-milligram Oxycontin pills, after telling her he had been getting the drug from a friend. She commented to the agent how she knew some of her patients had been arrested for selling their prescription medications. The agent said he paid $100 cash for each appointment with Mrdjen.

During his visits, the agent observed a young man whose mother had complained to the California Medical Board about Mrdjen over-prescribing her son. The woman wrote that her son had been seen by another doctor who had recognized he was addicted to pain killers and prescribed a detoxification program. However, after the young man completed his program, his mother said he was once again prescribed large amounts of pain medication by Mrdjen. The patient who prosecutors claim died due to Mrdjen's overprescription of pills was his best friend since childhood, and died of an overdose after spending two months at the Betty Ford clinic, according to the criminal complaint.

The agent also met in her office a man who he exchanged numbers with to purchase Oxycontin, and then bought the drugs from him in Campbell on E. Hamilton Avenue, the complaint said. He also bought the drugs from the man in Los Gatos in front of the clinic on Capri Drive purchasing 30 Oxycontin 40-milligram pills for $28 each, totaling $840. The patient, turned dealer, made the second sale while accompanied by a woman  who had two children with her in the car.

A search warrant of the couple's residence found 1,935 pills of varying prescription medication, cash and text messages on the woman's phone indicating she was also involved in the sales of the prescription medication and a marijuana grow.

To read the entire criminal complain, please see the attached PDF of the court documents related to the case.

MichaelJ September 24, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Glad to see our local cops and DA crack down RX fraud & doctor shopping
Jeffrey Bachman September 24, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Hope she gets life ... prescribing controlled substances can lead to deaths as was this case. Crazy!
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz September 25, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Every Medical Dr. knows exactly what their doing. This Dr. should lose her license. Which I believe would happen anyway...
Maaliea Wilbur September 25, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Glad to hear this woman is off the streets!
Kay Groft III September 25, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Wow. It sad that it someone died due to her lack of responsibility.

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