Citrus County, Florida-- An illegal pain clinic was shut down Thursday in Crystal River after Citrus County Sheriff's Office detectives gathered multiple pieces of incriminating evidence.
According to reports, Central Pain Clinic, located off 5th Terrace in Crystal River, was opened in 2012 by Dr. Daniel McIntyre and Dr. Dennis Varel.
A big red flag to officials- the clinic was never legally registered with the state. This may have been because Dr. McIntire reportedly has prior felony charges that prevented him from legally working in a registered clinic.
Another red flag- Varel was found dead of an apparent drug overdose just a few weeks ago, on January 10.
"This is part of our intelligence led policing efforts," said Sheriff Jeff Dawsy. "We are hitting the prescription drug market hard. We will not tolerate this activity in our county."
Over the past year, the clinic reportedly dispensed of 1.5 million narcotic pills with an estimated street value of over $12 million. This included doses of deadly oxycodone, as well as Xanax, Soma, Methadone, Oxycontin and more.
Detective John Bergen, the lead investigator in the case, said he and other detectives spent about a year working on the investigation.
During Thursday's arrest, people in nearby offices actually cheered and clapped as detectives surrounded the office building. Patients of the clinic sat in the waiting room as deputies entered.
Officials arrested Dr. McIntire and charged him with two counts of Trafficking in Oxycodone, and set his bond at $200,000.
Reports say McIntire wrote as many as 172 prescriptions in a five-hour time frame. Broken down, that's 34 prescriptions per hour.
The prescriptions weren't exclusively written for Citrus County residents, either. Officials say patients of the clinic donned from as far away as Colorado and New Jersey.
"This man will no longer be selling these drugs to anyone inside or outside of our county," said Det. Bergen. "This is a serious and very deadly business."
And because of the severity of these crimes, officials say similar investigations will be at the top of their to-do list.
"We are making these investigations our priority. It takes a lot of work, but we're all up to the challenge and we take this very seriously."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, State Attorney's Office, Hernando County Sheriff's Office and the Pinellas County Pill Diversion Task Force all assisted in the case.
"This is the largest operation we've ever shut down in Citrus County," Dawsy concluded. "I sincerely want to thank Det. Bergen and everyone who had a part in this operation. We appreciate the hard work of all of the agencies involved."