Crime

Waveland doctor's medical assistant set to plea in prescription pill mill case

DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMNISTRATION 
 A second employee of Total Health Solutions, Inc., in Waveland, is set to enter a guilty plea in a prescription pill mill investigation.
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMNISTRATION A second employee of Total Health Solutions, Inc., in Waveland, is set to enter a guilty plea in a prescription pill mill investigation.

GULFPORT -- One of two employees accused along with a Waveland doctor of running a prescription pill mill out of a medical office has filed a notice of her intent to enter a guilty plea, according to U.S. District Court records.

Petty Laporte, 59, is set to enter the plea Oct. 28 before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden. She is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years and up to a $250,000 fine on each charge.

She and two others, Dr. Steve Morris III, 56, and another of his employees, Brittany Spikes, 29, were arrested May 13 after federal and local authorities raided the doctor's office, Total Health Solutions, on May 13.

A federal grand jury indicted all three on federal charges of conspiracy and aiding and abetting one another to possess, distribute and dispense controlled substances outside the scope of a medical practice as spelled out in a 57-count indictment.

The medications prescribed, court records say, are the narcotic painkiller oxycodone, the anti-anxiety generic drug for Xanax, and carisoprodol, a non-narcotic muscle relaxer known by the brand name Soma.

Morris pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge of possession with intent to distribute the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam outside the scope of a medical practice. At the hearing, his attorney said Morris had already surrendered his passport as well as his medical license. Morris is facing maximum penalties of 5 years and up to $250,000 in fines at his Jan. 8 sentencing

Spikes is set to go to trial on the Nov. 2 court calendar.

During his plea hearing, Morris admitted trading prescription drugs for shrimp, giving some patients extra pills and giving others away. In exchange for his plea, the government dismissed 56 other charges against him.

According to court records, the prescription pill conspiracy began as early as 2013 and continued until the date of April 17 indictment.

Laporte and Spikes are free on bond. Morris remains jailed pending sentencing.

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