Eleven people are charged, including four doctors, with distributing Suboxone, a prescription medication given to treat people with opiate addictions. Drug enforcement officials made the arrests Friday morning and talked about the extent of the operation Friday afternoon.
A 68-year-old Noblesville doctor faces nine counts, the most of any of the accused, for his involvement of trafficking the drug.
Dr. Larry Ley is charged with dealing controlled substances and one count of corrupt business influences.
"I would classify him as actually the ring leader," said Maj. Aaron Dietz with the Carmel Police Department. "The Pablo Escobar of Suboxone prescriptions of Indiana."
Prescriptions were sold for between $130 and $300 to those with opiate addictions at clinics Ley operated.
"We make no distinction between Dr. Ley and any other drug dealer," said Dietz.
The investigation started last August and included 27 undercover visits. On one day, investigators observed deals worth over $14,000. Dietz says this type of dealing exacerbates the problem of drug abuse in the region.
"This type of ruse of a clinic perpetuates the problem. Those people are still addicted to the drug and this is what's happening. This is not fixing the problem," said Dietz. "Opiate drugs and prescription medication is a gateway to heroin. That's why we have heroin is because people get addicted to the opiate drug prescription medication and then go to a cheaper, readily available heroin."
Dietz says others could be arrested as part of the investigation and the department will try to help those who were buying get into a rehabilitation program.