“This physician’s arrest came at the conclusion of an investigation that began several years ago, officials said. The doctor is believed to have been prescribing the alleged victims – ranging in age from early 20s to early 30s, various narcotics, including hydrocodone, methadone and oxycodone, and using his access to the narcotics as a way to pressure them into sex acts.” (Amy Roderick, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)
In East County San Diego, law enforcement is planning to interview 12 additional women, who say they were victimized by a physician already arrested and charged for swapping narcotics for sex. The as-yet unnamed adult women have come forward after hearing that their doctor is facing felony charges of dispensing painkillers illegally.
Doctor Naga Raja Thota, an anesthesiologist, was arrested at his clinic in the city of El Cajon last Wednesday. He stood in court later that day with his attorney and pleaded “not guilty” to charges involving 3 women who had already been interviewed by DEA investigators. The subject of the interviews was suspicion of dispensing powerful painkillers to patients without legitimate medical reasons – specifically, a physician providing drugs to addicted “patients” in exchange for sexual favors.
During his first court appearance, U.S. Attorney Orlando Gutierrez told the judge that a 20-year-old patient of Thota’s reported that the doctor increased her prescription dosage without telling her. Her addiction became worse, and that she felt she couldn’t get more narcotics unless she had sex with the doctor.
Another woman, according to the prosecution, said Thota agreed to pay her money not to report what was going on to law enforcement.
Doctor Naga Raja Thota, age 62, was released on a $100,000 bond last Friday. His next court date in scheduled at the San Diego Federal Building today.
Here’s another look at this case: