Courts & Crime

Feds raid three South Florida pain clinics over illegal painkiller suspicions

Narcotics investigators on Wednesday raided three South Florida pain clinics suspected of feeding a black-market pipeline of prescription painkillers stretching to Kentucky and other Appalachian states.

Agents with the DEA, the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office carted away boxes of records after serving search warrants at American Pain in Lake Worth, Executive Pain in West Palm Beach and the East Coast Pain Clinic in West Palm Beach on Wednesday morning.

The clinics are owned or managed by Christopher and Jeffrey George, 29-year-old twin brothers from Royal Palm Beach. Neither one is a licensed medical professional. Both have criminal records.

The Miami Herald highlighted the George brothers in an investigation of the pain clinic business published last year. The Herald investigation showed that loose regulations have made South Florida a haven for storefront clinics selling oxycodone and other painkillers at a pace unseen anywhere else in the country.

Several sheriffs in Kentucky -- a prime hot spot for illegal painkillers -- told The Herald they routinely arrested people trafficking oxycodone bought from a Wilton Manors clinic called South Florida Pain, also owned by Christopher George, records show. South Florida Pain later merged with American Pain in Boca Raton, and then relocated to Lake Worth.

Last year, a doctor working for Christopher George at South Florida Pain, Dr. Rachael Gittens, was suspended for 90 days by the state medical board for signing blank prescriptions for oxycodone, records show.

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