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Former doctor guilty of drug dispensing charges

By Staff | May 19, 2012

A jury recently found a Cape Coral man guilty of trafficking and fraud for illegally dispensing prescription drugs out of his local medical practice.

Ephraim Gutierrez Aguilar, 76, of 3437 Andalusia Blvd., was convicted May 11 of one count of assist person obtain controlled substance via fraud and two counts of traffick opium or derivative 4 grams to under 30 kilograms.

Jurors deliberated for two and a half hours before reaching a verdict.

“We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict,” State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Samantha Syoen said Friday, adding that the department’s Economic Crimes Unit “devoted a lot of time and energy to this case.”

“This verdict shows such criminal actions will not be tolerated,” she said.

The jury also found Aguilar not guilty of a second count of fraud.

He faces up to 30 years in prison for the convictions.

Assistant state attorney James D. Miller prosecuted the case.

Defense attorney Douglas Spiegel represented Aguilar.

Spiegel did not return a message seeking comment Friday.

In 2007, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Fort Myers Regional Operations Center began investigating Aguilar. Agents believed that he was dispensing pills illegally out of Paradise Medical Center in North Fort Myers.

According to officials, the investigation revealed that Aguilar prescribed a patient more than 235,000 Roxicodone tablets within a 13-month period. He, the patient and the pharmacist who filled the prescriptions were arrested.

The patient, Vaughn Tyler Wipf, 44, of 129 Evergreen Road, North Fort Myers, was charged with trafficking opium. He has a trial set for July 16.

Ahmad Hamidi Al Haddad, 49, of 14458 Reflection Lakes Drive, Fort Myers, was charged with trafficking and fraud. His trial is also set for July 16.

Aguilar’s sentencing is scheduled for June 25.