- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A Georgia doctor charged with involvement in a prescription drug ring wants a separate trial from other defendants.

Dr. Sanjay Sinha, 49, of Woodstock, Ga., and three Mississippi men were indicted in March on federal charges of illegally distributing painkillers.

The doctor is accused of visiting casinos, befriending casino employees and writing them prescriptions for hundreds of pills, prosecutors said.

Biloxi residents Robert Thornton II, 36, and Joshua Locke, 36; and John Mattina, 44, of Ocean Springs.

The doctor is accused of visiting casinos, befriending casino employees and writing them prescriptions for hundreds of pain pills, prosecutors said.

Authorities said Locke, Mattina and Thornton recruited others to meet in their homes to arrange for prescriptions and Sinha charged $100 for each prescription.

Sinha, Locke and Mattina are free on bond. Robert Thornton is held with no bond.

Drug agents have said the case involves hydrocodone and oxycodone and alleges Locke offered Sinha an opportunity to make money by writing illegal prescriptions for pain pills.

The Sun Heard reports (https://bit.ly/1esVsN4) U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden will hear arguments on Sinha’s separate trial issue May 5. Evidence used against three other defendants in a joint trial could be used against the doctor, his attorney wrote.

Ozerden set a new trial date Monday after reviewing requests from several attorneys. He rescheduled the trial, set for May, on a court calendar that starts July 7.

Locke is at a drug rehab center and needs more time to prepare for his defense, a motion from his attorney said.

Mattina wanted the trial delayed because he is considering a plea agreement, his attorney wrote.

Seven others face state charges.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute Oxycodone is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum penalty for possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone is 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com


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