From July 2011 through July 2014 a Lynwood physician allegedly prescribed narcotic prescriptions in large amounts and accepted cash payments for the transactions. The patients receiving the medication did not receive regular examinations and it is suspected that many of them did not have a medical need for the pills. He is accused of using his practice to make illegal drug deals.
Dr. Edward Ridgill has been accused of prescribing and selling considerable amounts of Norco, Xanax and Soma pills, which are dubbed the “trinity” by drug users due to the high achieved by consuming the opiate, sedative and muscle relaxer at the same time. It is reported that he handed out over 21,000 prescriptions during a three year period.
A DEA task force began an investigation on Ridgill employing anonymous sources who made appointments with the doctor and were fitted with surveillance cameras hidden inside of cups, buttons, hats and purses prior to their visits. The collected videos depicted the visits of the undercover mock patients where Ridgill prescribed and accepted cash payment for the drugs, and in some cases no examination was performed. Expert review of the videos and patient files raised enough suspicion to warrant charging 65-year-old Ridgill with several counts of illegal distribution.
During the investigation bundles of money from the alleged transactions were retrieved and confiscated from inside the receptionist’s desk and throughout patient files. Two separate accounts were discovered at Bank of America where records show thousands of dollars deposited by hand through the ATM each month. Nearly $180,000 was reportedly deposited in 2014.
David Joseph Sutton, the defense attorney for the accused, stated, “The government’s theory is that he abandoned his intent to act like a medical doctor and instead became a common drug dealer.” Sutton posits that his client is not a drug dealer and that the perceived poor decision to extend services in an unorthodox way should not cost Ridgill a federal conviction. Video footage of Ridgill speaking to a patient about his medical complaints was shown to the jury, and Sutton feels confident that the prosecution’s evidence does not support a guilty verdict.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a drug crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.