Tucson nurse practitioners indicted for drug dealing

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced today felony charges against the owners and employees of Embrace Health and Pain Management Clinic in Tucson, Arizona. The charges arise from a 21-month investigation against two nurse practitioners who issued multiple prescriptions of powerful and addictive controlled substances, primarily Oxycodone, outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.

A total of 15 felony counts were filed against nine employees including the two nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioners Elizabeth D. Capotosti and Kathleen A. Karazewski issued numerous prescriptions with little or no physical examinations. The drugs were then being resold to known street dealers for further distribution throughout Southern Arizona.

“Prescription drug abuse is a dangerous and growing problem in Arizona,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “Those who perpetuate this problem by trafficking in prescription drugs are drug dealers, no different than those who peddle cocaine and methamphetamine in our streets. DEA and its partners will stand firm on its commitment to investigate and prosecute these type of illegal medical practices and prevent controlled substances from being diverted into the wrong hands and endangering the health of our citizens.”

The counts listed in the Indictment are:

Count One: Conspiracy to Possess for Sale and/or Sell a Narcotic Drug, a Class Two Felony
Count Two: Conspiracy to Possess for Sale and/or Sell a Narcotic Drug, a Class Two Felony
Count Three: Conspiracy to Possess for Sale and/or Sell a Dangerous Drug, a Class two Felony
Class Four: Conspiracy to Possess for Sale and/or Sell a Dangerous Drug, a Class Two Felony
Class Five: Possession for Sale and/or Sell a Narcotic Drug, a Class Two Felony
Class Six: Possession for Sale and/or Sell a Narcotic Drug, a Class Two Felony
Class Seven: Possession for Sale and/or Sell a Dangerous Drug, a Class Two Felony
Class Eight: Possession for Sale and/or Sell a Dangerous Drug, a Class Two Felony
Class Nine: Money Laundering in the First Degree, a Class Two Felony
Class Ten: Illegal Control of an Enterprise, a Class Three Felony
Class Eleven: Illegal Control of an Enterprise, a Class Three Felony
Class Twelve: Illegally Conducting an Enterprise, a Class Three Felony
Class Thirteen: Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, a Class Two Felony
Class Fourteen: Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, a Class Two Felony
Class Fifteen: Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, a Class Two Felony

The following nine defendants were indicted by a Grand Jury in Pima County Superior Court:

•Elizabeth D. Capotosti, Owner and Nurse Practitioner
•Kathleen A. Karaszewski, Nurse Practioner
•Alyssa Asch-McElmurry, Owner
•Kim D. Gonzalez, Office Manager
•Jorge Gonzalez, Security Guard
•Joseph Epperson, Staff Member
•Albaluz Portugal, Staff Member
•Santos M. Guillen Jr., Staff Member
•Adam A. Rosales, Staff Member

All defendants were arrested from September 16, 2013 through September 25, 2013, and remain in custody at Pima County Jail in Tucson.