“. . . shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That’s about it.” (Bubba talking to Forrest Gump)
“Yes sir, I am guilty.” (Doctor Steve Morris, last week in federal court)
In the state of Mississippi a drug-dealer physician has admitted in court that he sometimes traded prescription pills for shrimp, and sometimes just gave them out for free on boat rides, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney John Meynardie.
Those and other crimes were revealed in federal court earlier this week when Doctor Steve Morris, age 57 of Gulfport, confessed just before his trial that he routinely distributed narcotics outside the standard of accepted medical practice, over a two-year span that started in 2013.
The drugs listed in the charges are the narcotic painkiller, oxycodone; an anti-anxiety generic drug similar to Xanax; as well as the non-narcotic muscle relaxant Soma.
Morris could receive a 5-year term in federal prison. The government will take possession of $35,000 in illegal proceeds from the drug deals, as well as two vehicles and issue a $250,000 fine.
As part of the plea, Morris admitted also that he conspired with two staff members of his clinic – Peggy LaPorte, a 59-year-old nurse, and Brittany Spikes, age 29. The prosecution was prepared to prove that one undercover officer went to the clinic more than 20 times, and was given prescriptions each time for drugs with no medical need, and no routine physical exam or tests performed. Other witnesses were ready to testify to similar incidents.
All three medical professionals at the Total Health Solutions clinic were arrested for Conspiracy, as well as “aiding and abetting each other to possess, distribute and dispense controlled substances outside the scope of proper medical practice.”
A total of 57 felonies were defined in the indictment.
Laporte and Spikes are out on bail pending separate trials. The maximum penalties in this case is a prison term of 20 years and a $1,000,000 fine on each felony.
The doctor is expected to be sentenced in January by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden in Gulfport.
Here’s another look at this case:
- Unknown (7/16/2015)
- Action Taken: License Restricted
- Summary: Morris III, Steve MD: License # 13836: NATURE OF COMPLAINT: Unknown at this time. ACTION TAKEN: The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure has granted continuance with the restrictions that the physician cannot practice until such time as a hearing is conducted and a decision is rendered.
- State: Mississippi