SATA BARBARA – January 20
Dr. Julio Diaz, 63, a well-known local physician who was arrested at his home in Goleta on January 4th by DEA agents on federal drug trafficking charges, has been held without bail and is facing a grand indictment on January 26th in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif.
The complete DEA affidavit in support of the case against Diaz, 75 pages in length, details the cases of many of Diaz’s patients, who are now being characterized by law enforcement as his “victims”. The affidavit is reported to implicate Diaz in the deaths of nearly a dozen people to whom he prescribed painkilling medications over many years.
Both the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and Santa Barbara Police Department worked with the DEA in gathering evidence in the case. According to SBPD Public Affairs Officer Lt. Lorenzo Duarte, “it’s been a lengthy investigation” and Diaz is suspected of prescribing “huge amounts of opiates” to the local area Spanish-speaking community. Operating out of his Family Care Clinic on Santa Barbara’s Eastside, Diaz has long been suspected by the Santa Barbara medical community as being “the candy man, because he’s known as the man to go to for drugs,” said Duarte.
Dr. Christopher Lambert, a senior staff member at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, whose emergency room had experience with Diaz’s patients, told the press that his team reached out to the DEA four years ago with reports of multiple overdoses arriving at the ER. Between 2009 and 2010, Cottage Hospital reported in excess of 400 ER patients, all of whom had been prescribed painkillers and narcotics by Diaz. Lambert, in statements to the media, reported that Diaz “would contend that he had legitimate medical reason for his patients to be in possession of high doses of narcotics, which we found hard to believe.”
Now formally charged with acting beyond the scope of professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose, Diaz faces up to 20 years confinement in a Federal penitentiary if convicted.
Photo: Courtesy stopoxy.com
Los Angeles Times: Doctor arrested in probe of painkiller overdoses
Huffington Post: Julio Gabriel Diaz, ‘Candy Man’ Doctor Arrested For Drug Trafficing. Was Suspected By Colleagues