The U.S. Attorney's Office is celebrating the dismantling of a "drug-dealing enterprise" involving prescription painkillers.
On Tuesday, John Malcolm Bales, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, ceremonially awarded nearly $1 million in forfeiture proceeds from the bust of online pharmacy the Madison Pain Clinic.
The clinic was run by David Allen Vogel, now convicted and serving a 20-year sentence. Bales said it used a medical office near White Rock Lake in Dallas as a front, but did most of its business online.
Investigators say people seeking hydrocodone pills and other drugs could fill out an online symptom form to self-diagnose symptoms and pay an "exorbitant" cash fee to illegally obtain medication.
"He fashioned a business plan that counted on the fact that addicted people will do pretty much anything to get their pain meds," Bales said. "Vogel's special evil genius was to provide the extra-strength formula and then sold it to them at exorbitant cash prices."
According to Bales, Vogel created a "super pain pill" that contained three times the dosage of a normal painkiller.
"Madison Pain Clinic was not a legitimate medical operation -- it was a drug dealing enterprise and Vogel was an increasingly wealthy drug dealer," Bales said.
Federal investigators say they were tipped off to the clinic after a high number of suicides and overdoses connected to it.
More than $6 million was seized during the investigation. Bales says the clinic took in more than $24 million over five years.