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Starbucks Means More Than Lattes for a Doctor Feds Say is Serving Up Painkillers Pills

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At least one Starbucks allegedly had a customer serving up not lattes but scrips: An Orange County (CA) doctor is facing 50 charges for illegally prescribing painkillers of opiates like Vicodin and OxyContin to people he met at chain locations in order to exchange pill prescriptions for cash. The Feds aren't happy about illegal scrips for pills that ended up in at least four states.
The 43-year-old general practitioner physician was officially busted at his Irvine doctor’s office in Southern California when arrested by local cops and the federal narcotics officers. Federal agents and law enforcement say Alvin Ming-Czech Yee arranged hook-ups at Starbucks coffee shops and swapped out opiate prescription pills for cash, including Vicodin, OxyContin, Xanax, Suxoxone and even Aderall. Cops say he liked to work at night before closing, after 7 pm until 11. Law enforcement says even Starbucks baristas claim to have witnessed at least part of the swap -- the doctor handing out the prescriptions at a physical location of the drink specialist.
Possibly making matters worse for the physician, it seems even pharmacies were on to the game to at least some extent: Area pharmacists were allegedly refusing to fill the opiate prescriptions for stuff like Vicodin and OxyContin or OxyCodone.
According to the DEA, pharmacies noted the scrips as considered “outside the scope of a professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose." Refusal of filled prescriptions may have come as a major surprise -- a rude awakening for drug scrips that law enforcement says ran customers up to $600 a pop.
What could’ve drawn attention to the opiate prescriptions may have been the fact that roughly one-third of the scrips were written to young adults under the age of 25 – not exactly the smartest practice, when most adults suffering from pain don’t typically fall within the age range. About half the illegal scrips were for Oxycodone – the generic equivalent of Oxycontin – and in the ranks of addictive qualities related to Vicodin or generic hydrocodone.
Yee could be facing some serious time: One young adult’s death, who agents say was receiving the opiate prescriptions from the doctor, died in August – with the case under review by the Orange County coroner. Federal agents allege Yee wasn’t only serving the Southern California community of drug users and the prescription amounts aren’t so small: Those arrested as far away as Washington, Michigan and Arizona admit to traveling all the way to Southern Cal for Yee’s services after those people were busted on possession of large quantities of prescription pills.
Allegedly the doc's been hitting up various Starbucks coffeehouse locations in order to sell the illegal prescriptions to customers meeting him in Southern California -- when he instead met with up to three undercover agents during those transactions. The federal government isn’t taking lightly what it says is sale of opiates, by a doctor, illegally. A 56-page court indictment outlines charges against Yee, allegations that include 50 counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance and 6 counts of illegal distribution to minors.


Mission Viejo, CA
United States
33° 36' 0.0828" N, 117° 40' 19.182" W
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