Charges against local doctor leave patients, tenants anxious

Source: Tuscola County Prosecutor's Office

A Mid-Michigan doctor is accused of running a criminal drug ring.

Dr. Joseph Oesterling is facing seven felony charges for allegedly running a “pill mill” out of his office in Caro.

The Tuscola County Prosecutor said he over prescribed hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone, phentermine and “some 330,000 dosage units of Norco within a 16-month period.”

He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Read the full release from the prosecutor's office here: On December 22, 2016, the Tuscola County Prosecutor’s Office authorized a 7 count felony warrant for the arrest of Dr. Joseph Edwin Oesterling, charging Oesterling with Criminal Enterprise, five counts of Delivery of a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance, and Maintaining a Drug Building. If convicted, Oesterling faces up to 20 years imprisonment.

This arrest caps an over seven month investigation which has been conducted by joint elements of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tactical Diversion Squad and the Thumb Narcotics Unit into alleged overprescribing practices being instituted by Oesterling through his clinics in Caro, Saginaw, and Mount Pleasant. Oesterling specializes in Urology and the allegations include the massive overprescribing of such substances as Norco (hydrocodone), methadone, amphetamines, phentermine, oxycodone and alprazolam (Xanax).

On October 25, 2016, law enforcement executed several search warrants at multiple locations, including clinics and residences, related to Oesterling and his practice. At that time police seized multiple electronic records, controlled substances, and financial records.

In addition to criminal charges, on December 21, 2016 the Tuscola County Prosecutor’s Office also instituted a civil forfeiture proceeding, via summons and complaint, concerning multiple items of personal and real property which were previously seized pursuant to court order on October 25, 2016.

The Tuscola County Prosecutor’s Office would like to commend the dedication of the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad of Detroit, Michigan and the Thumb Narcotics Unit who have worked tirelessly to bring the cases to this point. Opioid abuse and addiction have been a growing concern in the Tuscola County area for some time. Irresponsible prescribing practices related to these very powerful controlled substances has likewise led to a rise in crime, including an increase in property crimes and drug trafficking activity. Stemming the trafficking of prescription controlled substances has become a priority for law enforcement across the State of Michigan, with action being taken routinely by the State of Michigan and the Attorney General to curb the practices of these so-called “pill mills.”

At the present time, the State of Michigan has suspended Oesterling’s license to practice medicine pending a formal administrative hearing.

Bond has not yet been set in this matter and no date has been set for Oesterling’s first appearance in court.

As in all criminal cases the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.Copyright 2016 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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