- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A Georgia doctor has declined to accept a plea agreement in a federal case alleging he ran an illegal prescription drug business with the help of Mississippi casino workers.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/18ZCU4Y ) Sanjay Sinha of Woodstock, Georgia, had been given extra time to change his plea.

His trial is set for April 20.

Federal drug enforcement agents and prosecutors have said Sinha, 49, is not licensed to practice medicine in Mississippi but has written hundreds of prescriptions for controlled substances to include hydrocodone and oxycodone.

The indictment alleges the conspiracy began as early as 2008 in Harrison County and continued until the time of Sinha’s second indictment in Harrison County in January.

Court documents show his attorneys had asked U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to dismiss a second indictment or to at least dismiss three counts.

Those counts involve prescriptions written or dispensed in Jackson County in January 2010.

In a pretrial hearing Tuesday, the judge denied that motion, as well as a request that confidential informants be identified.

Ozerden granted the defense attorneys’ request to receive copies of all documents involving Sinha’s three co-defendants before trial.

The co-defendants have accepted plea deals on a charge of possession with intent to distribute, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

They are former casino workers Joshua James Locke and Robert Thornton II, both 36 and from Biloxi, and John Mattina, 44, of Ocean Springs.

Locke’s sentencing is set for March 31.

Sentencing for Thornton and Mattina is set for May 1.

___

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

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