RENO, Nev. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Nevada doctor is the first to face criminal drug distribution and Medicaid fraud charges for allegedly dispensing large amounts of powerful opioid medications with no legitimate medical purpose.

An aide to Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre in Las Vegas says 58-year-old Devendra Patel was arrested Tuesday in Elko and was being transported in custody to Reno, where he’s due for a detention hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Attorneys who represent Patel in an unrelated civil case didn’t immediately respond to messages about the criminal pill mill charges.

Myhre says Patel is the first person charged in Nevada under a U.S. Justice Department effort announced in August that made the state one of 12 with a federal prosecutor focused specifically on opioid fraud and abuse.


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